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North Bergen holds COVID-19 vaccination clinics at senior buildings

Officials said the clinics have been ongoing since vaccines were rolled out

North Bergen Housing Authority Executive Director Gerald Sanzari oversees a senior resident of the Lawler Towers receive a COVID-19 test back in January of this year. Photo courtesy of the NBHA.

The North Bergen Housing Authority (NBHA) is holding pop-up vaccination clinics at its senior housing buildings.

NBHA Executive Director Gerald Sanzari told the Hudson Reporter that the Housing Authority never really stopped the clinics, first incepted when the vaccine became available.

“We’ve had an ongoing commitment with these pop-up clinics, from vaccines to testing, throughout the pandemic,” Sanzari said.

The COVID-19 vaccination clinics come at a time when the virus has been on the rise in recent months.

“There has been an uptick,” Sanzari said. “We are always concerned. So we scheduled more vaccine clinics.”

Sanzari said the NBHA started on June 7 at 10 a.m. with the Lawler Towers, continuing with the Terrace Apartments on June 8.

“We started with the Lawler Towers and we have some more buildings coming up,” Sanzari said.

Mitigating COVID-19 in senior buildings

It’s important to keep clinics for vaccines and testing available so that the vulnerable senior population has easy access amid COVID-19 surges.

“We manage five senior citizen buildings. They’re tall buildings that range from 12 to 14 floors,” Sanzari said. “These are people living in congregate settings and they are senior citizens, some with varied health conditions. So we have to keep an eye out.”

There is another clinic set for next week at the Cullum Tower on June 14 at 10 a.m. The vaccines offered include Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson; regular doses and boosters are available. No ID or insurance is needed, appointments aren’t necessary.

“If we have residents that are bed-ridden, we’ll even make arrangements to go to their apartment to administer the vaccines,” Sanzari said. “The important thing is that everybody is up to date on their vaccines and boosters.”

In addition to vaccine offerings, the NBHA also holds regular pop-up COVID-19 testing clinics to keep seniors safe.

“Part of the equation is frequent testing,” Sanzari said. “We partner with the North Bergen Board of Health as regularly as possible to do that.”

And constant cleaning of the building is another factor: “We’re always staying on top of cleanliness and maintenance.

Virus apparatus still in place

Overall, Sanzari said the vaccine clinics were just another aspect of the township’s COVID-19 response apparatus which has continued even as the pandemic shifts to become an endemic. While other municipalities are shutting their municipal vaccine sites down, North Bergen is continuing to hold them across the township.

“I just have so much affinity and love for this community, our tenants here. I just have to make sure that we’re always staying on top of things.”

Meanwhile, vaccination clinics at the school district just wrapped up on June 9. As the school year ends and students enjoy summer vacation, the North Bergen School District collaborated with the North Bergen Department of Health to offer vaccines and boosters over the past two weeks. It also came at a vital time as children ages 5 and older recently became eligible for booster shots.

While those opportunities have passed, much like with the senior buildings, more opportunities for both vaccination and testing will be available in the future. For more information, go to northbergenresourcecenter.org. Or call 201-424-0178 or 201-744-7520.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.

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