UNION COUNTY, NJ — Union County Commissioner Chairman Alexander Mirabella on Sunday urged all adult residents in the county to get vaccinated for coronavirus and promised that the county is prepared to distribute COVID-19 vaccines “as soon as they arrive.”

In a prerecorded speech during the county’s annual reorganization ceremony, Mirabella said the county is finalizing plans to make the coronavirus vaccine available for residents, adding that vaccines coming to Union County would be prioritized for people in accordance with state guidelines.

“The County of Union is finalizing plans to make the COVID-19 vaccine available to our residents, and is ready to begin vaccinations as soon as they arrive,” Mirabella said. “Having administered COVID-19 tests throughout the County of Union, the infrastructure is in place to allow for a transition to a vaccination program immediately. We have purchased freezers and ancillary supplies to deliver the vaccines.”

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The vaccination effort is one of the pillars for the 2021 “Union County Rising” initiatives that Mirabella announced during the annual reorganization ceremony, where he was joined by fellow commissioners, the county’s state legislators, local politicians and Gov. Phil Murphy at the steps of the county courthouse in Elizabeth.

At the ceremony, where county officials were sworn into office and assigned to standing committees, reminders of the coronavirus loomed. It was the first time in the county’s history when the reorganization meeting was held virtually and a moment of silence was held for those who died of COVID-19.

Murphy noted the devastating toll the pandemic had in Union County — over 37,000 cases and around 1,400 deaths since March — but also said better days would be ahead.

“I think it’s gonna get worse before it gets better, but it will get better,” he said. “I believe you can look at May, plus or minus, to the time where we’ll be in a dramatically different place.”

The ceremony also marked the first time commissioners addressed each other by their new titles — they were formerly known as freeholders — an effort Commissioner Angela Garretson was instrumental in.

“New Jersey is no longer the last state to use the term [freeholder, that was] coined when only white male landowners could hold public office,” Garretson said.

Other initiatives Mirabella discussed include expanding the county regional dispatch center, a shared service with municipalities that handles emergency calls, and repurposing the former juvenile detention center in Linden as a new fire academy.

Mirabella was sworn in for his sixth term as chairman and Commissioner Rebecca L. Williams became Vice-Chair. Commissioners Angela Garretson and Christopher Hudak began new three-year terms, Commissioner Lourdes Leon began her first term, and Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi and Sheriff Peter Corvelli began new terms.

Email: danieljustinhan@gmail.com | Twitter: @danieljhan_ | Instagram: @D.han

View the meeting here:

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