NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – Anthony Patten Jr. knows the drill – or rather, the needle.

The physician assistant in cardiothoracic surgery rolled up his left sleeve and received the second dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, 21 days after he became the first staff member at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick to receive the first dose.

Dr. Sheraz Siddiqui, chief of hospital medicine at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, and others also received their second dose today.

Sign Up for Franklin Township Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

Patten, Siddiqui and others were among the first to respond when the hospital asked its front line health care heroes if they voluntarily wanted the vaccine.

Patten’s initial dosage on Dec. 15 was met by a round of applause by staff and administration who had gathered for the moment.

Interim CEO and president Bill Arnold told TAPinto New Brunswick the vaccination process will take the hospital several months.

State officials said today that the total of positive COVID-19 cases is up to 499,636. The statewide death toll stands at 19,382, including 17,361 confirmed and 2,021 probable deaths.

Since March, there have been 3,769 confirmed COVID-19 cases in New Brunswick, including 19 cases in the past 24 hours. The death toll is up to 88.