Vatesse Pleasant, RN, becomes the first Newark Beth Israel employee to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19
Newark, NJ, December 21, 2020 – Following weeks of preparation, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of New Jersey, an RWJBarnabas Health facility, began administering the Pfizer- BioNTech vaccine to its high-risk, frontline employees today. The hospital opened its employee vaccine clinic at 6:00 a.m. this morning and employees were welcomed with cheers of support from the administrative and volunteer staff.
Vatesse Pleasant, RN, 40 years-old, was the first Newark Beth Israel employee to receive the vaccine. “I’m excited to be able to visit my granddaughter again,” said Vatesse, who has been working with critically ill COVID-19 patients since July when she started working at Newark Beth Israel.
RWJBarnabas Health (RWJBH) has been working diligently with the state to support the New Jersey Department of Health’s ambitious vaccination plan to get 70 percent of the state’s adult population vaccinated in six months. As the largest, most comprehensive academic health care system in New Jersey, RWJBarnabas Heath is committed to treating and saving the lives of patients with COVID-19, and to fighting the spread of the disease, protecting its team members and ending the pandemic. With the opening of its employee vaccine clinic today, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of New Jersey is proud to be an integral part of the national and New Jersey COVID-19 vaccination effort. Public health officials and medical experts believe vaccination is an important step in helping to prevent or lessen the effect of COVID-19 and its potentially devastating consequences.
“By offering this vaccine to our staff, we are providing them with additional piece of mind. Our clinical teams can provide critical care at the bedside without the fear of contracting COVID-19 and bringing it back to their families,” said Amy Doran, RN, MSN, APN-c, Chief Nursing Officer, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of New Jersey.
“Our employees are overjoyed to have access to this vaccine. It is a proven and effective deterrent to this infection and we can all rest easy knowing that we now have a vaccine that can adequately protect us against this virus,” said Matthew Schreiber, MD, Chief Operating Officer, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of New Jersey.
The Pfizer- BioNTech vaccine received emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on December 11, 2020. Vaccine safety and efficacy for Pfizer’s vaccine has been issued Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the FDA. FDA authorization of a vaccine means the agency has determined, based on substantial evidence and a stringent review process, that the vaccine is safe and effective for its intended use. The vaccine has been shown to be 95 percent effective and requires two doses received 21 days apart. The vaccine is voluntary for employees and medical staff and is being offered free of charge.
Due to limited supply, the vaccine is being given in phases based on prioritization order. The prioritization order for RWJBarnabas Health staff is determined by the risk of contracting COVID-19 from exposures while at work, primarily by job setting. RWJBarnabas Health facilities expect to vaccinate staff over a 6-week period (weeks 1-3 first dose; weeks 4-6 second dose).
About Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, an RWJBarnabas Health facilityis a 665-bed regional care teaching hospital that provides comprehensive health care. Newark Beth Israel is a Top Teaching Hospital and home to one of the nation’s top ten heart transplant centers, which has performed more than 1,100 heart transplants; RWJBarnabas Health’s Heart Failure Treatment and Transplant Program; New Jersey’s only Advanced Lung Disease and Transplant Program and a Valve Center that performs complex cardiac valve procedures, including minimally invasive transcatheter aortic valve replacements (TAVRs). Newark Beth Israel Medical Center is also home to Children’s Hospital of New Jersey (CHoNJ), which cares for children from birth through adolescence, with more than 30 specialized pediatric services including New Jersey’s largest Valerie Fund Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders; and the Children’s Heart Center that offers a complete range of medical and surgical treatments for the most complex cardiac abnormalities. The Newark Beth Israel robotic surgery program is the most experienced in northern New Jersey. RWJBarnabas Health and The Frederick B. Cohen, MD, Comprehensive Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey Breast Health Center, in partnership with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey – the state’s only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center – brings a world class team of researchers and specialists to fight alongside you, providing close-to-home access to the latest treatment and clinical trials. Newark Beth Israel also offers many preventive health programs that promote wellness in the community, including The Beth Greenhouse, which provides access to fresh produce and health and wellness education to local residents.
Children’s Hospital of New Jersey (CHoNJ), located at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, cares for children from birth through adolescence, with more than 30 specialized pediatric services including New Jersey’s largest Valerie Fund Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders; and the Children’s Heart Center that offers a complete range of medical and surgical treatments for the most complex cardiac abnormalities. Children’s Hospital of New Jersey also includes a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and a Level IV Regional Perinatal Center that offers New Jersey’s only Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) therapy; and the highest level of intensive care for both mothers and newborns.