UNION COUNTY, NJ — Following Governor Phil Murphy's announcement that New Jersey educators and school staff were eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccinations, the less than subtle distinction between eligibility and accessibility was raised. Now permitted to be vaccinated, would teachers and those working in schools have the means to secure appointments? Would adequate numbers of vaccination sites, along with the staff to keep them running, be available?

One step in the right direction, at least in Union County, was the event that took place on Tuesday, April 6, in Roselle's Warinanco Park at the skating rink there. By most accounts, the affair was a model of smooth efficiency, comprising helpful and knowledgeable organizers and, not unimportantly, speedy lines. Those vaccinated received the Johnson and Johnson one-shot vaccine.

Roselle Mayor Donald Shaw arrived at the skate rink before the doors had even officially opened. He was running around, fielding questions, and helping set up folding chairs at the time TAPinto Rahway was there during the opening hours.

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"We're doing our part every day in Union County to get residents vaccinated and move the needle in the fight against this deadly pandemic," he said. "I'm proud to be a part of a team of dedicated professionals, and I encourage every Union County resident to do their part. Get vaccinated."

Though Tuesday was the first use of the Warinanco facility for vaccinations, it hardly showed, as a streamlined process—of signing in those waiting in line, swiftly moving people along into individual booths to receive shots, and then directing the newly vaccinated into a waiting area—churned into action the moment the doors opened at 1 pm.

Sue Amorin, a special education teacher at Victor Mravlag School 21 in Elizabeth, was vaccinated on Tuesday and found the experience both pleasant and swift.

"There really was no wait at all," she said. "I had a 2:15 appointment, got there at 1:50, and within five minutes I was in the building. I think I was vaccinated at 2:01. With the 15-minute waiting period afterwards, I was still done and out of the building by 2:20, which was only five minutes after my actual scheduled appointment."

Whatever those organizing the Union County vaccination at Warinanco Park did in preparation and however they executed their plan, theirs appears to be an example to follow. 

For additional vaccination opportunities in Union County, go to https://www.ucnjvaccine.org/.

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