25,000th COVID-19 vaccination is given at Summit Community Center

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SUMMIT, NJ — Atlantic Health System and Summit administered the 25,000th dose of COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, April 9, marking tremendous progress in vaccinating members of the community and working to end the pandemic.

The milestone shot was given at the Summit Community Center, which opened on Monday, Feb. 8, to New Jersey residents who meet the eligibility requirements. One of the center’s gymnasiums was dedicated by the city to accommodate 14 socially distanced vaccination bays, set up by Atlantic Health System, whose team members have been administering doses of the vaccine to the public, by appointment via atlantichealth.org.

“Marking 25,000 doses today, in just over two months, is a tremendous achievement in our fight against the COVID-19 virus,” said Alan Lieber, president of Atlantic Health System’s Overlook Medical Center in Summit, which has been overseeing operations of the vaccine center. “The city’s partnership to place our vaccination resources in an easily accessible location will continue to be vital to our efforts to end this pandemic.”

“There’s still a long way to go in vaccinating people against COVID-19, but we are extremely pleased to take a moment to celebrate the milestone of administering more than 25,000 doses of vaccine so far at the Summit Community Center,” said Summit Mayor Nora Radest. “We are proud of our partnership with Overlook and Atlantic Health and the strides we are making together to bring an end to the pandemic.”

The 25,000th dose was given to Lela Ingram, 65, a resident of Woodbridge and a parishioner of Wallace Chapel in Summit. Like many, the immediate changes in daily life that resulted from the pandemic’s initial surge last spring took a toll on her.

“During that time, I felt like going out was the worst thing you could do, like something was chasing you back home,” Ingram said.

As the event has continued for more than a year, though, she has learned to adjust. She attends church services and Bible study virtually, and has discovered puzzles as a hobby. The vaccine, though, offers a great deal of hope for her to resume many of her former normal activities, such as attending church in person and visiting relatives in North Carolina.

“You just have to take precautions and take one day at a time,” she said.

The accomplishment drew accolades from the Summit community, with the support from FLAG of Summit, which provided celebratory lunch and cupcakes from local eateries for the Community Center team.

The Community Center vaccination site is open Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., when vaccine supplies are available. No walk-ins are accepted. Eligible people can register to receive a vaccination appointment alert at https://www.atlantichealth.org. When the vaccine is available, the Atlantic Health System will send a notification to schedule an appointment. Senior citizens and residents without internet access may call the Department of Community Services at 908-277-2932 for assistance with signing up for a vaccination alert notification.

For parking and additional instructions, visit the Atlantic Health System website or visit the Summit online.

Photos Courtesy of Robert Seman