Hoboken seniors receive COVID-19 vaccine

Health department reports post-holiday surge in positive cases

98-year-old breast cancer survivor Antoinette Miller receives the COVID-19 vaccination at Hoboken University Medical Center.

Hoboken began its senior vaccination program at Hoboken University Medical Center this week with residents Richard Tremitiedi, Hoboken’s former fire chief, and 98-year-old breast cancer survivor Antoinette Miller the first two seniors in the state to receive the vaccine.

Hoboken is one of only a select few municipalities or counties in New Jersey to begin vaccinating seniors on the first day of eligibility, Jan. 14.

- Advertisement -

“I’m extremely proud that Hoboken is one of the first communities in New Jersey to begin vaccinating our seniors,” said Mayor Ravi Bhalla. “We are moving as quickly and efficiently as possible, to protect our elderly population and save lives. I encourage all seniors to sign up on our pre-registration form to receive the vaccine, which has been proven to be safe and effective by medical experts.”

“I’m extremely thankful to receive one of Hoboken’s first vaccines for seniors,” Tremitiedi said. “As a former fire chief, I know what it takes to keep people safe, and I can assure my friends in the senior community – the vaccine is in fact safe, and will protect us from the deadly virus. It has never been more important to get vaccinated, for the sake of our community, and so we can soon return to normal.”

Hoboken launched a pre-registration form for seniors to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in anticipation of an expansion of eligibility for those 65 years of age and older on Jan. 11 and more than 1,400 seniors signed up through the pre-registration form.

According to the city, all seniors who signed up will be called for an appointment in the coming weeks once the city’s vaccine supply is replenished by the state which initially provided the city with 500 vaccines.

Hoboken is still collecting pre-registration sign-ups for seniors, which can be filled out by visiting http://www.hobokennj.gov/seniors and providing the individual’s name, address, date of birth, and phone number.

All friends and family of seniors can fill out the information on behalf of the senior. Seniors or family and friends can also call the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) hotline to pre-register at 201-420-5621 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The city’s Office of Emergency Management, Health Department, and CERT will conduct door-to-door pre-registrations for seniors in the coming weeks.

Firefighters and police 

The city has been working with Riverside Medical Group and Hoboken University Medical Center (HUMC) to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to healthcare workers, law enforcement, and first responders in the 1A phase over the past two weeks.

Members of the police and fire departments received their first doses of the Moderna vaccine last week, including  Police Chief Ken Ferrante and Fire Chief Brian Crimmins.

“I looked forward to this day to get my vaccination because it shows our officers [that] I have confidence in this vaccine, and it’s a step in the direction of protecting our community,” Ferrante said. “I have done my personal research reading articles from top medical experts in our country regarding side effects, levels of protection created and allergic reactions, as I am one who is allergic to several medications. The vast majority of medical experts have stated that the vaccine is safe and effective. I am confident sitting here today and getting this shot. I ask everyone to join me in doing the research, and consider the opinions of medical experts so they can become confident in taking this so we can save lives and get back to some normalcy in 2021.”

“Throughout this pandemic, firefighters have been exposed to COVID-19,” Crimmins said. “We are now beginning to receive vaccinations at Riverside Medical Group, Hoboken University Medical Center, and other locations. As Fire Chief, I proudly volunteered for vaccination because I feel that it’s important to protect myself, my department, my family, and my community from COVID-19. Based on communication with medical professionals, industry experts, and other fire chiefs, I believe the vaccine to be safe and effective.”

He said after receiving his first dose he didn’t experience any side effects or reactions.

Post-holiday surge

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 2,319 residents have tested positive, and 39 have died, according to the city’s latest numbers on Jan. 12,

The city’s Health Department reports that many of the new cases stem from holiday gatherings and indoor social occasions with multiple households, as well as holiday travel outside of New Jersey to other states.

“It is abundantly clear that Hoboken is in the middle of a post-holiday surge in cases, and that infections are rising at an alarming rate,” said Bhalla, noting that residents need to take the virus seriously and continue to wear masks, socially distance, avoid indoor gatherings beyond household members, avoid travel out of state, and get tested.

Due to this post-holiday surge, which saw 55 new positive cases on Jan. 10, the city will continue to expand testing.

To sign up for an appointment at one of the various testing sites go to http://www.hobokennj.gov/testing.

The city announced it will open a pre-registration form for Hoboken residents with pre-existing medical conditions, as identified by the state and CDC, to receive the vaccine on Monday, Jan. 18.

For updates on this and other stories check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Marilyn Baer can be reached at Marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.