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Health Care Workers Return To Newark Vaccination Center For 2nd Dose As State Grapples With COVID Vaccine Shortage

CBS New York logoCBS New York 1/24/2021 Syndicated Local – CBS New York

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Health experts are warning mutations of coronavirus spread faster than the original virus and may be more deadly.

Two cases of the U.K. variant have been found in New Jersey, just as Gov. Phil Murphy warns the state is running out of the vaccine, CBS2’s Christina Fan reported Saturday.

Health care workers received their first dose of the vaccine 28 days ago at a center in Newark. On Saturday, they were grateful to be back for their second dose, as the state and country continue to deal with a shortage.

Dr. Lionel Anciette, medical director at the Essex County Correctional Facility, was back at Essex County College for his second shot. He said he was elated, knowing the example he’s set already protected other people.

“Some of my patients were inspired and said OK, you’re willing to take it? I’m willing to take it. We’ve been able to get a couple of our inmates and detainees to take the vaccine as well,” Anciette said.

COVID VACCINE

But securing an appointment for the vaccine is growing increasingly difficult. From Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck to New York City-run vaccination hubs, supplies are out, appointments have been canceled and locations temporarily closed.

But not in Essex County.

“If you see what’s going on throughout the country, people are running out of doses and stuff. We are not because whatever we are allotted for that one week, that’s what we allocate,” County Executive Joe DiVincenzo said.

The county currently receives about 9,000 doses a week, distributed across five vaccination sites. DiVincenzo says it was critical distribution ran smoothly in the communities he oversees.

“We had no choice. This county was the hardest hit when it comes to positive infections. We have over 55,000,” he said.

MORE: COVID In New Jersey: Careful Planning Has Helped Essex County Vaccination Site Become Highly Efficient

Elsewhere, demand for the COVID-19 vaccine continues to outpace supply.

Hundreds lined up Friday outside International High School in Paterson, New Jersey. Some arrived before the crack of dawn.

“You wanted me here at 1:00 in the morning? I would have been here at 1:00 in the morning,” one person said.

The school is a first-come, first-serve COVID vaccine clinic run by the city, at least until the doses run out. Only eligible Paterson residents could line up.

“I prefer to have vaccines in people’s arms than having it lying around in the shelves of refrigerators,” said Dr. Paul Persaud, Health Officer of the City of Paterson.

Dr. Persaud said some elderly and low-income residents might not have access to online vaccine registrations, many of which are overwhelmed already. So, this is one way of speeding up the process.

“I’m happy,” said Dora Medrano of Paterson. “And God bless.”

“I’m very happy. I’m glad that I finally did it. I still worry about it but, you’ve just got to wait and be patient,” said Alfredo Morales.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Patience will be critical since access to the vaccine remains incredibly limited statewide.

As the federal government works with drug companies to increase production, health care workers say they’re happy to see more people seem to have confidence in the shot.

“I think that this shot is going to help us get back to our normal lives,” school nurse Bonnie Rogers said.

Essex County officials say their facilities are capable of vaccinating 30,000 people a week. If drug companies can increase production, county officials believe they could have everyone vaccinated in four months.

CBS2’s Christina Fan contributed to this report.

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