MERCER COUNTY, NJ — On Monday morning, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton, began administering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to its high-risk, frontline employees.
Victoria Bradeis, a respiratory therapist, received the first dose of the vaccine.
For Bradeis, the decision to take the vaccine was a no-brainer. “People are scared of the vaccine. But I’ve seen first hand the destruction caused by COVID-19, in the worst way possible. And I just want people to know they shouldn’t be scared of the vaccine,” she said.
A resident of Langhorne, PA, Bradeis takes a 20-minute drive to work every day. She is the third respiratory therapist in her family.
“I trust science. I’m extremely proud of the work scientists have done with the vaccine, after hours and hours of work,” she said.
Bradeis said this vaccine will help protect her patients and immunocompromised family members.
Richard Freeman, President and Chief Executive Officer, of the hospital said receiving the vaccine is important to many of the hospital’s staff. “Our team has worked so hard through this pandemic and they continue to provide the best care to all of our patients. This vaccine brings them a new measure of protection for themselves, their loved ones and our patients,” Freeman said in a statement.
Robbinsville Township Mayor Dave Fried supported the hospital, saying it was “a monumental day, not just for RWJUH Hamilton and its great team healthcare professionals, but for all of us.”
“This is the light guiding us to the tunnel that will hopefully take us out of this pandemic. We still must remain vigilant until everyone has access to these vaccines, but we are so appreciative to all the scientists and researchers across the world that have made this historic vaccination rollout possible," Fried said.
Officials at RWJ Barnabas said due to the limited supply, the vaccine is being given in phases based on prioritization order.
The prioritization order for staff at the hospital is determined by the risk of contracting COVID-19 from exposures while at work. The hospital expects to vaccinate staff over a 6-week period.
Meanwhile, the coronavirus continues to take a grim toll on Mercer County. As of Friday, Mercer County reported 110 new cases, taking the cumulative total to 16,998.
Read More Here: Mercer County's COVID Cases Remain 'Very High:' See Town Updates
But with the vaccine ready for use, Bradeis wants people to see the light at the end of the tunnel. “I hope people try to be optimistic and stay positive,” she said.
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