Secaucus High School nurse is the first to receive COVID-19 vaccine at Kearny site

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A Secaucus High School nurse was the first person to receive the COVID-10 vaccine at the USS Juneau Center site in Kearny, the location being operated by the Hudson County government.

Photos courtesy of Hudson County.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Kathy Gerbasio, a Secaucus High School Nurse who has tested thousands of individuals since March at Hudson County’s COVID-19 testing site at Hudson Regional Hospital, was the first person to receive the Moderna vaccine at the site while accompanied by her husband.

“The Hudson County Vaccine Task Force has worked tirelessly to ready ourselves for the long anticipated COVID-19 vaccine. This has been a long time coming, and there is no more appropriate way to thank our frontlines heroes for all they have done over than by providing them with this lifesaving vaccine that has been so eagerly anticipated,” Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise said in a statement.

“Hudson County will continue to execute an aggressive testing program at Hudson Regional Hospital and by working collaboratively with our local leaders and stakeholder, rest assured we will not step down from this fight until every resident has the opportunity to be vaccinated.”

Hudson County received its first 1,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine on Wednesday morning and vaccinated dozens of individuals that same afternoon.

Hudson County Deputy Administrator David Drumeler, Hudson Regional Health Commission Executive Director Carrie Nawrocki, Freeholder Anthony Romano (D-5), Hudson County Improvement Authority CEO Norman Guerra, and staff of the facility were all present for today’s first round of vaccinations.

Gary Garetano, Hudson Regional Health Commission’s Vaccine Coordinator, administered Gerbasio her vaccine.

Gov. Phil Murphy (D) praised Hudson County for getting its vaccine distribution program underway as soon as possible.

“Hudson County has been at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19 since the very beginning. As one of the densest areas in the densest state in the country, Hudson County and its leadership understand that an effective local vaccination program is imperative to public health in the state as a whole,” the governor said.

“Under the leadership of County Executive DeGise, the Hudson Regional Health Commission, and countless public health officials, Hudson County’s COVID-19 vaccination site will open today and begin to provide lifesaving vaccines to frontline health workers. I am thankful for their efforts, and especially proud that the first vaccine recipient will be a school nurse.”

The center will remain open through 11 a.m. this morning by appointment only.

Individuals who qualify to be vaccinated during Phase 1A are encouraged to contact the Hudson Regional Health Commission to schedule an appointment.

Phase 1A includes hospital personnel, as well as those working in medial and dental offices, EMTs, and funeral home workers.