With the Imminent Release of the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine, Bergen Senator Calls for Prioritizing Senior Citizens, Teachers & School Staff
WOOD-RIDGE – Senator Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen), the chairman of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement calling for a “reset” on the distribution of vaccines in New Jersey:
“New Jersey needs to hit the reset button on the COVID-19 vaccine distribution. The release of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a game changer because it requires only a single dose and it doesn’t need to be kept in ultra-cold freezers. This makes it perfect to distribute directly to local towns so they can vaccinate their senior citizens and teachers without the bureaucratic and technological logjam of the current vaccine enrollment system. The 70,000 doses heading to New Jersey on Monday and all future J&J doses should be reserved for senior citizens and school staff until those groups are all fully vaccinated.”
Towns have the facilities, resources, knowledge and logistical ability to get the vaccine out quickly to senior citizens and teachers explained Sarlo, who is also the Mayor of Wood-Ridge.
“We have community centers and school gyms, school busses and senior citizen busses, contact lists of seniors from local clubs, churches and civic groups, and we have school nurses as well as other nurses and doctors who live in town and want to help. Our teachers, custodians and secretaries are already here in the schools every day. I could have my Wood-Ridge Senior Citizens Center set up this weekend and start giving vaccines on Monday.”
Sarlo also stated that the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is easy for local towns to handle and administer, will be less onerous on senior citizens, and will enable schools to reopen much sooner.
“We don’t need to have special freezers and we don’t need a computer tracking system to make sure people come back for their second dose. Senior citizens won’t have to worry about using a computer to get an appointment and won’t have to travel a far distance two times to be vaccinated. Teachers could walk down the hallway to the gym, get vaccinated, and be back in their classrooms twenty minutes later. Give me 200 J&J doses in Wood-Ridge and I’ll have our schools open 5 days a week the next day. Give me 1,000 and I’ll have all my seniors done in one week.”