Jersey City Medical Center Begins Vaccinating Frontline Employees Against COVID-19

Mariekarl Vilceus-Talty, Senior Director of Nursing and Patient Experience, Nursing Administration, was among the first group of JCMC employees to be given the COVID-19 vaccine
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Mariekarl Vilceus-Talty, Senior Director of Nursing and Patient Experience, Nursing Administration, was among the first group of JCMC employees to be given the COVID-19 vaccine

Following weeks of preparation, Jersey City Medical Center, an RWJBarnabas Health facility, began administering the Pfizer- BioNTech vaccine to its high-risk, frontline employees.

The hospital opened its employee vaccine clinic at 7:00 a.m. Monday morning and employees were welcomed with cheers of support from the administrative and volunteer staff.

Thomas Melendez, security supervisor and a born-and-raised Jersey City resident, was the first in line to get the vaccine.

“As a supervisor, I have to be a role model to my staff. I need to make sure that my colleagues, as well as my family, are safe and I’m glad to finally get the vaccine today,” said Melendez.

RWJBarnabas Health (RWJBH) has been working diligently with the state to support the New Jersey Department of Health’s ambitious vaccination plan to get 70 percent of the state’s adult population vaccinated in six months.

As the largest, most comprehensive academic health care system in New Jersey, RWJBarnabas Heath is committed to treating and saving the lives of patients with COVID-19, and also to fighting the spread of the disease, protecting its team members and ending the pandemic.

With the opening of its employee vaccine clinic today, Jersey City Medical Center is proud to be an integral part of the national and New Jersey COVID-19 vaccination effort. Public health officials and medical experts believe vaccination is an important step in helping to prevent or lessen the effect of COVID-19 and its potentially devastating consequences.

“This is a great day that we have all been anxiously waiting for.  Today, Jersey City Medical Center adds another weapon in our fight against this deadly pandemic.  Having the ability to better protect our healthcare heroes through this vaccine increases our capacity to better care for all our patients, both COVID and non-COVID,” said Michael Prilutsky, President and CEO of JCMC.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine received emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on December 11, 2020. Vaccine safety and efficacy for Pfizer’s vaccine has been issued Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the FDA.

FDA authorization of a vaccine means the agency has determined, based on substantial evidence and a stringent review process, that the vaccine is safe and effective for its intended use. The vaccine has been shown to be 95 percent effective and requires two doses received 21 days apart. The vaccine is voluntary for employees and medical staff and is being offered free of charge.

Due to limited supply, the vaccine is being given in phases based on prioritization order. The prioritization order for RWJBarnabas Health staff is determined by the risk of contracting COVID-19 from exposures while at work, primarily by job setting. RWJBarnabas Health facilities expect to vaccinate staff over a 6-week period (weeks 1-3 first dose; weeks 4-6 second dose).