By: Alysa Rubin, Writer / Follow South Jersey Public Health Intern
MARLTON, N.J. — Two of South Jersey’s most prominent health care entities reached 100,000 total COVID-19 vaccinations in the past week.
On February 27, Virtua Health, which is New Jersey’s largest health system administered its 100,000th dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, Gov. Murphy announced that the vaccine mega site at Rowan College of South Jersey’s Gloucester County campus reached 100,000 vaccinations on Sunday.
Virtua Health, which began its vaccination efforts on December 18, reached the achievement in just over two months. RCSJ-Gloucester’s vaccine mega site opened on January 11.
“Arriving at 100,000 doses is certainly a milestone, and we are just getting started,” Dennis W. Pullin, FACHE, president and CEO of Virtua Health, said. “We are committed to providing this life-saving service to our community and will do what it takes to get the job done.”
Virtua Health’s campaign, which began as an effort to vaccinate frontline workers and healthcare employees in Voorhees, grew as more people became eligible to be vaccinated. In January, Virtua partnered with the State of New Jersey, Burlington County, and others to open the Burlington County COVID-19 vaccine mega-site.
New Jersey currently has six mega sites across the state. To date, the Burlington County mega site accounts for more than 70% of the 100,000-plus vaccine doses administered by Virtua Health.
“When we first started vaccinating our workforce, we would average about 3,000 doses a week – that was the supply available to us at the time. Now, we regularly vaccinate more than 3,000 people a day at the mega-site – sometimes nearly 4,000 people a day,” Reg Blaber, Virtua Health’s executive vice president and chief clinical officer, added.
Currently, New Jersey is in Phases 1A and 1B of vaccination. All healthcare workers, long term care residents and staff, first responders, and individuals 65 and older, or those between the ages of 16-65 with preexisting conditions are eligible to get the shot. More residents — including teachers and support staff at schools — are set to be eligible to receive the vaccine effective March 15.
Virtua anticipates that with increasing vaccine quantities for the Burlington County mega site, reaching 200,000 doses will take less than half the time it took to reach 100,000 doses.
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This article was produced by a Follow South Jersey news intern thanks to a grant provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through the New Jersey Health Initiatives program to create hyper-local news to meet the informational and health needs of the City of Bridgeton, N.J.