Paterson opens new mass COVID-19 vaccination site to increase speed of inoculations
Paterson, hearing the call from federal officials to move faster when it comes to inoculating health care workers with the COVID-19 vaccine, opened a mass vaccination site on Monday.
“We have to scale-up our vaccination operation. That’s why we’ve chosen a large location,” says Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh.
The site opened inside the International High School gymnasium. It will be open six days a week and for now, will serve health care workers who fit into the state’s phase 1A category.
“We are doing a lot of dentists, we are doing chiropractors, podiatrists, ambulance EMTs,” says Robert Ardis with the Paterson Health Department.
Ardis spoke to News 12 during his mandatory 15-minute rest after receiving his first dose of the Moderna vaccine. He says that many of those working in hospitals were vaccinated by employers starting last week.
Mayor Sayegh says that he considers the International High School vaccination site to be Paterson’s own mega site. There are five stations where people are being given the vaccine. But it can be easily expanded to 10 stations, which officials say will be hopeful when they start giving the vaccine to the public, starting sometime this spring.
But for now, the city is moving quickly to get to the next phase of 1B.
“We are looking at 75 or older, essential workers not in the health care profession, teachers, even elected officials,” the mayor says.
Paterson currently has 600 doses of the vaccine, with another 1,000 expected by the end of Monday. Sayegh says that he plans to get the vaccine as soon as he is allowed. And he says that he hopes that citywide people hear his message.
“It is safe. We really need you to come and get vaccinated. Do not get discouraged. It is a matter of public protection,” the mayor says.
The mayor says the Department of Health is looking for nurses to volunteer. The vaccination clinic at International High School is open from 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m.