NJ begins COVID-19 vaccinations at veterans' care homes

New Jersey officials have started coronavirus vaccinations at three veterans’ care homes, and a state agency has approved the use of the Atlantic City Convention Center as a vaccination site.

Residents and staff of the Paramus Veterans Memorial Home began receiving vaccinations on Monday, and vaccinations are set to begin over the next week at the Menlo Park and Vineland Veterans Memorial Homes, state officials said Tuesday.

"Our veterans were there for us in our time of greatest need," said Gov. Phil Murphy. "Now it is our turn to protect them with the distribution of lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines. While this pandemic is far from over, these vaccines will undoubtedly reduce the risk of severe illness or death among the residents of our veterans memorial homes."


Residents and staff will receive the second dose of the vaccines three weeks after the first dose.

Hours later, state Sen. Michael Testa and Brian Wiener, state commander of the New Jersey Veterans of Foreign Wars, called for an investigation into what they termed "the tragic mishandling of the COVID-19 virus inside the state’s veterans homes."

They cited a published report last week that workers at state-run veterans homes were prohibited from wearing masks.

"Costly mistakes were made, lives were lost unnecessarily, and like the situation that claimed the lives of more than 7,100 vulnerable seniors in our nursing homes, this has been swept under the rug by the Murphy administration," said Testa, a Republican. "Those who served our nation proudly in the military and defended our freedoms across the globe deserve better from their government leaders in the twilight of their lives."

Credit: Penn Medicine

A spokesperson for the Democratic governor did not immediately return a request for comment.

In other virus-related news, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority approved an agreement Tuesday for the Atlantic City Convention Center to serve as a site for mass vaccinations starting next month.

The vaccination site is scheduled to open by mid-January and will run through June with three, 30-day extensions available if needed, officials said.

The Atlantic City Convention Center was one of six New Jersey sites chosen to administer the COVID-19 vaccinations.

Others include the Meadowlands sports complex in Bergen County; Rockaway Townsquare Mall in Morris County; the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center in Middlesex County; Moorestown Mall in Burlington County, and Rowan College of South Jersey in Gloucester County.


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