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Mass vaccination centers set up in Essex County as NJ awaits delivery of COVID-19 vaccines

In West Orange, a 45,000-square-foot vacant former Kmart department store building will transform into a vaccination center. It will have 24 nurse stations capable of vaccinating thousands of people.

News 12 Staff

Dec 12, 2020, 11:14 PM

Updated 1,283 days ago

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Essex County is preparing to use mass vaccine centers to make sure New Jersey residents can get the COVID-19 vaccine.
In West Orange, a 45,000-square-foot vacant former Kmart department store building will transform into a vaccination center. It will have 24 nurse stations capable of vaccinating thousands of people.
This location is one of the five mass inoculation centers in Essex County. Four of the centers will be operational Friday and ready to distribute the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 26, initially to first responders and priority populations.
Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. says, “Essex County has to be a top priority because of its needs. We have the most deaths and most positive infections."
In its first three weeks of operation, the center will have the capacity to inoculate 1,000 people daily. After two weeks, that number will increase to 2,000.
These exact numbers are still dependent on how many vaccines will be provided to the county by the federal government and state. It will be administered in two doses, and health experts expect the general population will begin to receive at the end of the first quarter of 2021.
Essex County Health Officer Maya Lordo says, “Getting the vaccine increases our numbers, so once we get that 70%, we are going to be able to provide our community with heard immunity, so those individuals who are not able to get the vaccine for various reasons will be protected as well.”
Community leaders say mass vaccination centers are strategically placed to provide access to all areas of the county. However, they say challenges may arise for those relying on public transportation.
The cost of the vaccine distribution process in Essex County will be paid through the Federal Cares Act. The sites will accept insurance and for those without health insurance, government assistance is available.
In Essex County, the vaccine will be stored at the West Orange Offices of Emergency Management and then go to all mass vaccination locations. A fifth mass vaccination center is set to open in February at the Donald Payne School of Technology.


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