SUMMIT, NJ - Plus she got a sticker and a cupcake, to boot.

Lela Ingram, 65, a Woodbridge resident and parishioner at Summit's Wallace Chapel AME Zion Church, received the milestone 25,000th COVID-19 vaccination administered at the Summit Community Center (SCC). In partnership with the City of Summit, Atlantic Health System's Overlook Medical Center launched the COVID-19 vaccination center at the SCC on February 8 and, in just two months, the initiative has made significant progress in vaccinating members of the community and working to end the pandemic.

One of the SCC’s gymnasiums was dedicated by the City to accommodate 14 socially-distanced vaccination bays set up by Atlantic Health System, whose team members have been administering doses of the vaccine to the public, by appointment.

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“Marking 25,000 doses today, in just over two months is a tremendous achievement in our fight against the COVID-19 virus,” said Alan Lieber, president of Atlantic Health System’s Overlook Medical Center. “The City’s partnership to place our vaccination resources in an easily-accessible location will continue to be vital to our efforts to end this pandemic.”

Recipient Hopes Getting Vaccinated Helps Her Resume Normal Activities

Like many, the immediate changes in daily life that resulted from the pandemic’s initial surge last spring took a toll on Ingram, who said, "During that time, I felt like going out was the worst thing you could do, like something was chasing you back home,."

Now, after a year of life during the pandemic, Ingram has learned to adjust. She attends church services and bible study virtually and has discovered puzzles as a hobby. The vaccine, though, offers a great deal of hope for her to resume many of her former normal activities, such as attending church in person, and visiting relatives from North Carolina, she said.

“You just have to take precautions and take one day at a time,” she said.

The accomplishment drew accolades from the Summit community, with support from FLAG of Summit, which provided celebratory lunch and cupcakes from local eateries for the Community Center team.

“There’s still a long way to go in vaccinating people against COVID-19, but we are extremely pleased to take a moment to celebrate the milestone of administering more than 25,000 doses of vaccine so far at the Summit Community Center,” explains Summit Mayor Nora Radest. “We are proud of our partnership with Overlook and Atlantic Health and the strides we are making together to bring an end to the pandemic.”

The Community Center vaccination site is open Monday to Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., when vaccine supplies are available. No walk-ins are accepted. Eligible people can register to receive a vaccination appointment alert at https://www.atlantichealth.org. When vaccine is available, Atlantic Health System will send a notification to schedule an appointment. Senior citizens and residents without internet access may call the Department of Community Services at 908-277-2932 for assistance with signing up for a vaccination alert notification.

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