Hazen Yu, a CentraState nurse manager who has overseen the care of hundreds of COVID-19 patients, receives his vaccination.

FREEHOLD, NJ ―CentraState vaccinated more than 80 front line health care workers today with the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, and scheduled each to receive the second, required dose within the manufacturer’s suggested time frame.

“This is the first step in our ability to get back to normal, and an amazing day for our organization and the entire community we serve,” said John T. Gribbin, president and CEO of CentraState Healthcare System. “We are so thankful that our employees, who cared for patients with COVID-19 in the last 10 months, are finally on their way to having protection against the virus.”

CentraState received 975 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, earmarked for employees who are at the highest risk for contracting the virus, including physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and staff in the ICU, Emergency Department and other units. Both the Centers for Disease Control and the New Jersey Department of Health have provided guidelines on vaccine prioritization. Those who do not have close patient care will receive their vaccines at a later date as they become available.

“I am so relieved that we are finally able to get vaccinated to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and the patients we care for,” said Hazen Yu, the nurse manager of the hospital unit that cared for the majority of COVID-19 patients, and one of the first employees to receive the vaccine.

CentraState’s team has been working tirelessly to prepare for receipt and delivery of the vaccines, including the purchase of a special refrigerator to house them at -80 degrees Celsius until they are ready for use. Processes were developed for everything from scheduling employees for the vaccine, to transport from the pharmacy to the point of care.

“I’m very proud of the work we have done in preparation for this historic event,” said Tom Scott, CentraState’s chief operating officer. “This challenge has tested the skills and tenacity of every employee, and I can say with confidence that we more than passed the test.”

Details on the availability of the vaccine to the public will be forthcoming.

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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...