SUMMIT, NJ — Overlook Medical Center, part of Atlantic Health System, on Thursday, Dec. 17, distributed its first shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to eligible team members and physicians, taking a major step forward in the fight against COVID-19.
“The arrival and distribution of the vaccine is an emotional moment for all of us at Overlook. The vaccine truly provides a light at the end of the tunnel for all of our team who have been tirelessly delivering exceptional care to our patients throughout this pandemic,” said Overlook President Alan Lieber. “The excitement in our organization is palpable.”
On Thursday, Dec. 17, Overlook began inoculating team members in a diverse number of roles. Atlantic Health System aims to have its entire workforce vaccinated within the next few weeks.
Atlantic Health System’s hospitals joined others across the state in receiving doses this week of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Requiring ultra-cold storage, colder than -70 degrees Celsius, the vaccine utilizes an mRNA platform that has undergone rigorous scientific review by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration.
“This week represents a powerful moment of hope and optimism in the fight against COVID-19,” said Brian Gragnolati, president and chief executive officer of Atlantic Health System. “We can now begin taking the fight straight to this virus with a safe, highly effective vaccine that reflects groundbreaking scientific achievement. We look forward to delivering this new protection to our team as we remain ready to care for every patient who needs us.”
In accordance with guidelines from the New Jersey Department of Health, the vaccine will be distributed initially to all adults who live in, work in or are being educated in the state. Phasing will ensure that vaccines are distributed in a fair and equitable manner. Phase 1A of the plan, which covers approximately 650,000 people, includes paid health care workers and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials. Acute care hospital workers at highest risk of exposure to COVID-19 will be the first to receive the vaccine.
Photos Courtesy of Robert Seman