(Camden, NJ) – The Camden County Health Department, in partnership with the Rutgers School of Nursing and Cooper University Health Care, administered approximately 40 vaccinations to Camden City residents today at a pop-up clinic at the Branches in the Centerville neighborhood. The clinic was the county’s first effort to bring the recently approved Johnson and Johnson vaccine into the community to serve populations with limited transportation or who are bound to their homes.
Camden County Commissioner Al Dyer talked about the impact the new vaccine is already having on the county’s efforts.
“Unlike other vaccines, this product can be stored using simple refrigeration and requires no follow-up appointment to achieve full protection. Among all the benefits that offers, we are really excited about its potential to be mobile,” Dyer said. “This will give us the ability to serve communities and residents by bringing vaccines to their doorstep and meeting them where they are. For those who can’t travel or lack transportation, this will speed up their vaccination timeline and open up new opportunities.”
The Health Department has been working on outreach projects into hard to reach populations with local, state and federal officials over the past month. A variety of initiatives have been put into action including everything from booking senior transportation to local vaccine sites to today’s exercise of taking the vaccines directly into the places where residents live. These are just some of the reasons residents in the county have gotten more than 100,000 first doses of vaccines.
Officials from Cooper University Health Care echoed the commissioner’s sentiment and expanded upon the health care system’s mission to assist vulnerable populations affected by COVID-19.
“This initiative is another component of Cooper’s organizational commitment to ensure all communities throughout our region have equal access to the vaccine,” said Kevin O’Dowd, JD, co-CEO of Cooper University Health Care. “Individuals who are severely limited in their ability to travel outside of the home cannot stand in line at a vaccination center. We are knocking down this barrier by taking the vaccine directly to their home.”
“Bringing the COVID-19 vaccine directly to Camden resident in mobile clinics is just one more way we are helping protect the community and trying to save lives along with our neighborhood vaccine and education center at The Salvation Army Kroc Center in East Camden,” said Anthony J. Mazzarelli, MD, JD, MBE, co-CEO of Cooper.
The Branches is part of a $16 million comprehensive redevelopment of the former site of Clement T. Branch Village and replaces 34 units of outdated public housing with 50 modern, energy efficient, high-quality affordable rental apartments. Included in this development is a health clinic staffed by the Rutgers-Camden School of Nursing creating a continuity of care for residents living in the new buildings.
Dr. Kevin Emmons, associate dean from the Rutgers School of Nursing, talked about the importance of bringing care directly to residents.
“Our objective with this initiative is to meet patients where they are in their respective space,” Emmons said. “We want to ensure that hard to reach populations have the same access and opportunity to get the vaccine as everyone else in our community and this clinic is the first of many outreach efforts we will be doing with our partners.”