Andre Sayegh Special to the USA TODAY Network

In April, the possibility of having a vaccine for COVD-19 by December seemed like wishful thinking. While we waited, we continued to work on suppressing the spread of the virus especially through our nationally-renowned contact tracing program. Thankfully, hope is on the horizon and I am proud to announce that Paterson will begin vaccinations by next week as part of New Jersey’s COVID-19 vaccination program. Paterson’s Division of Health is expected to receive its first batch of Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for dispensing as part of Phase 1A by the end of this week. This phase consists of health care workers, residents of long-term-care facilities, and employees in long-term-care facilities.

Distribution by the Paterson Division of Health will focus on health care workers only, which includes EMS personnel within the Fire Department and public health employees within the Division of Health. This phase of the vaccination program is expected to continue into mid-January.

Vaccinations are expected to begin on Monday, December 28, 2020 and will occur at the Division of Health building at 176 Broadway (07505) beginning at 11 a.m. Health Care workers in the community can contact 973-321-1288 to schedule an appointment. These workers are encouraged to bring employee ID/documentation of work in a health care sector along with insurance card.

Beginning Jan. 4, 2021, the Division of Health anticipates opening a COVID-19 Point of Dispensing (POD) location at International High School at 200 Grand Street (07501) to continue its vaccinations in Phase 1A. Details on hours and scheduling appointments will be forthcoming as part of a larger New Jersey vaccine scheduling system.

This POD site will then serve additional populations as the State of New Jersey moves to future phases — 1B (first responders and essential workers), 1C (high-risk individuals), and 2 (general population) beginning in late January or early February 2021. Details on other PODs available for Paterson residents will be forthcoming in the weeks ahead.

We need help! Health care professionals are encouraged to volunteer to help staff Paterson’s POD as well as support our imminent vaccination hotline. Please email Hilda Perez at with your contact information and resume/health care credentials to volunteer.

The day we have been waiting for is here our community’s health care workers, including many Paterson EMS and public health employees, have carried us through this crisis. Now they are stepping up not only to protect themselves in order to serve others, but to show that this vaccine is safe and effective. They are leading the way for the rest of us to follow in the weeks and months ahead.

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