Two programs are helping dozens of Township residents, including many seniors,who have been eagerly awaiting their COVID-19 vaccinationsget their shots.
Officials said residents who are unable to leave their homes are getting a helping hand from members Township’s Health Department, who administer the vaccine right in residents’ homes.
And Essex County officials are coming to the aid of Belleville seniors who don’t have transportation by providing door-to-door bus service to and from vaccination sites.
“Both programs are providing crucial services to our residents, including our seniors,” Mayor Michael Melham said. “I want to thank County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. and Essex County for including Belleville in the bus program.
We asked them to include Belleville in the program because we knew we had many seniors here who needed the service.
Their generosity and the hard work of our Township Health Department and the EMS members are keeping our residents safe and healthy as we persevere through the pandemic.”
The county’s pilot program picks up seniors in Belleville, Newark, East Orange, Orange, Irvington and Bloomfield, and takes them to a vaccination site set up at the Stephen N. Adubato, Sr. Sports Complex in Newark.
The bus then brings them home after they have gotten their shot.
The Township’s home visit program is staffed by registered nurses Pat Hickey and Joann Marino Greiss, who work in the Township’s Health Department.
They travel to the homes of residents that have signed up with the Township to receive the shot.
Hickey and Greiss are escorted by members of the Township’s EMs squad, who remain on standby in case residents have an immediate reaction to the vaccine.
Hickey said that these seniors are receiving the vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson because it is a one-dose vaccine. This eliminates the need for a return trip to their homes.
“The seniors have been relieved to get the vaccinations,” Hickey said. “They greet us with smiles and they are just so relieved to get the vaccine.
It feels great as a health care provider to be helping people stay healthy rather than treating them when they are sick.”
“This has been a tough time for many of us, but it has been very difficult on seniors over the past year,” Greiss said. “Early on, we knew that the risk of severe illness with COVID-19 increases in older adults.”
In addition to getting the vaccine, these Township residents are also getting a small additional gift.
Hickey said she used some of the CARES Act money the Health Department received to make small gift bags filled with hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.
“We are proud of our Health Department and how it is literally going the extra mile to help our residents,” Township Manager Anthony Iacono said.
“It is crucial that we continually search for ways to best serve our residents during this lingering pandemic.”
Residents can get more information by calling the Township Health Department at 973-450-3389 or 973-450-3393 for more information.