By: Follow South Jersey Staff
CAMDEN, N.J. — With COVID-19 cases rising across the country and the Delta variant spreading among the unvaccinated and increasing hospitalizations and sickness throughout the region, the Camden County Board of County Commissioners is continuing to work with important influencers in their community to increase vaccine administration.
Camden High School basketball standout, DJ Wagner, his coach and former NBA player, Rick Brunson, and teammate, Cian Medley, all recently participated in a new public service announcement in partnership with the Board. The message is clear from this group to the public, “this is your shot – make it count.” Right now, getting every municipality to 70 percent vaccinated and beyond is the objective for the county health department.
“Getting these individuals to step up and lend their voices to this campaign was imperative for us to convince our neighbors that the vaccine is the right decision,” Commissioner Al Dyer Rick said. “Cian and DJ know how important it is to protect their friends, family and community and I want to thank them for their advocacy on this issue. Furthermore, these kids are role models in the city and beyond its borders for so many people and hoop heads throughout the state. We know the peer to peer message is impactful with other kids and families to make their shot count.”
Former Camden High School Basketball coach, Camden City Mayor Vic Carstarphen talked about the need to get city residents vaccinated.
“I’ve been clear about my goal to get at least 70 percent of our city vaccinated and to cover every square inch of Camden to do it,” Carstarphen said. “I want to thank Rick and the kids at Camden High for stepping up to the plate and assisting this effort. Lord knows, we all want to see these kids on the court this year playing the best high school teams in the nation inside the brand-new Camden High School gym. This special team needs all of us to play a role and get the shot, so they can have a historic season and we can be there in person to see it.”
The Superintendent of the Camden City School District, Katrina McCombs, talked about the importance of her students and coach at Camden High School stepping up to get the word out for this critical public health initiative.
“I can’t say enough about our scholar athletes and Coach participating in this vital effort,” McCombs said. “None of us want to be back in remote learning. We want to be back in the classroom with our teachers, friends and teammates. Getting vaccinated is the only way we can adequately preserve the things we love to do.”
Leadership from Cooper University Health Care applauded the new public service announcement and the ongoing campaign to bolster vaccinations.
“Since the first vaccines were available last December, our focus has been on getting individuals vaccinated by separating fact from fiction, providing education, and making the vaccine readily available,” Kevin Odowd, Co-CEO of Cooper, said. “We commend superstar DJ Wagner for joining this effort and encouraging people to protect themselves by getting vaccinated, and we praise our partners for working with us to give residents the chance to receive the vaccine right at home.”
Dr. Anthony Mazzarelli, Co-CEO of Cooper University Health Care, talked about the importance of the vaccine to face down the spread of Delta.
“The Delta variant is causing COVID-19 infections to rise, we want to make it as easy as possible for Camden residents to get the vaccine quickly to reduce the number of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths due to COVID-19,” Dr. Anthony Mazzarelli, Co-CEO of Cooper, stated. “We know the vaccine is very effective so we’re going door-to-door with our partners to provide trustworthy information as well as an opportunity for residents to get the vaccine and DJ Wagner’s encouragement to his fellow residents will be helpful during this critical time.”
Congressman Donald Norcross talked about why it’s vital to get the shot.
“It is up to each of us to do our part and get vaccinated so that we can keep ourselves, our loved ones and our communities safe from COVID,” Norcross said. “I applaud these local stars on their work to encourage their peers to get vaccinated and using their voices to share the message that the vaccine is safe, effective and free. In order to crush COVID, we must all roll up our sleeves and allow the vaccine to do its job by saving lives and livelihoods.”
Carstarphen stressed the importance of increasing vaccination access for all Camden residents. More than ten thousand residents in Camden have been infected with the COVID-19 virus, double that of any other municipality in Camden County. Camden has also lost 178 residents to COVID-19. While 60 percent of Camden residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, the Mayor and Commissioners are committed to increasing that number to at least 70 percent of eligible residents.
There have been 570,752 doses of the vaccine administered throughout Camden County with more than 311,749 residents with at least one dose in them. In Camden City, more than 60 percent of the population 18 and over has had one dose of the vaccine and that number continues to grow week to week.
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