Jersey City teachers begin receiving COVID-19 vaccinations at Ferris High School

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Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop visited a city-run COVID-19 vaccination site at James J. Ferris High School this morning to discuss the particulars around the city allocating all their vaccines to their public and charter school teachers and staff.

By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View

“This week in Jersey City we’ll close to 5,000 doses, which is a better allotment than we expected, and we made the decision to allocate 100 percent of those doses for Jersey City public school teachers, support staff, and also open this up to the charter school system as well,” Fulop said at the press conference.

“This will allow us to administer both shots prior to the Jersey City Public School target date of April 22nd to reopen our schools and this should eliminate any reason, both students and teachers, should feel uncomfortable going back to traditional in-person learning.”

Fulop also explained that the BOE prepared a signup sheet for employees, which was then given to the city’s health and human services department to schedule the vaccination appointments.

Furthermore, Ferris High School and Public School No. 26 vaccination sites will be utilized for school employees seeking to be vaccinated.

“A lot of parents have driven this conversation, to be honest with you. We’ve seen larger and larger petitions and teachers and parent outcry that the mental health of their children are being severely impacted,” the mayor also explained.

Jersey City was only expecting approximately 2,000 doses this week, so they were pleasantly surprised to find out that figure would actually be nearly 5,000 – particularly since their are about 4,700 teachers and staff at the board of education.

Next week, the city’s vaccination priority will go to back to seniors, though teachers and many others will of course remain eligible.

Jersey City now has an ample supply of the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, the latter of which has been a popular request since it only requires one dose.

Additionally, Jersey City Health and Human Services Director Stacey Flanagan noted that it’s a relief that the city is now receiving an equitable vaccine supply from the state to help residents and workers alike.

“We have been working over the last week pretty tirelessly to get any possible vaccine available across the state into Jersey City because we know this is where people are traditionally coming,” she said.

“Not just those who live here but those who work here. And we made a commitment to those that live, work, and are educated here to get the vaccines here.”

She also noted Jersey City is one of 10 cities working with FEMA to administer the vaccine in New Jersey, with plans in motion to open another vaccination site on Wednesday.

During a question and answer session with the press, Fulop said that teachers will not be required to be vaccinated, with the BOE working with the Jersey City Education Association for teachers who are going to pass on the opportunity.

“We’re out of those conversations as a city. Our job here is to make sure that everybody has access,” the mayor said.

While the response from the public schools has been a robust one thus far, with around 1,500 signed up, Fulop pointed out that 400 workers from the city’s charter schools have expressed in interest in being inoculated as well.

Wilfred Dasher, 57 and a boiler technician for the Jersey City BOE, was among those on hand to received the vaccine earlier today.

He said was on a ventilator for 22 days last year and was in the hospital for 106 days with COVID-19.

His wife Kim, a teacher at A. Harry Moore School, praised frontline workers at the Bayonne Medical Center for taking great care of him and eventually facilitating a full recovery.

“God gave me another chance: it’s a great day,” Dasher said as he waited for his shot.