(Gloucester Township, NJ) — The Camden County Board of Commissioners, in partnership with Cooper University Health Care and the Rutgers-Camden School of Nursing, on Thursday opened phase one of the Camden County Health Hub. This new one-stop shop for COVID-19 vaccines, boosters, and third doses, along with several other amenities, at the Camden County College-Blackwood Campus.
The site will be operated in the vast parking lot on campus utilizing pop-up clinical pods as residents are seen from their cars. The convenience and accessibility for the public to clinicians and vaccines will be unlike any other service provided in the region. Depending on the patient need, public health professionals will have multiple drive-thru lines for residents to use regarding their purpose for the visit at the new outdoor complex.
“For all of the outstanding work our public health team did last spring, vaccinating more than 100,000 people, the pandemic is not over and continues to evolve,” Commissioner Director Louis Cappelli, Jr. said. “In our fight against Delta, and to ensure that boosters can get out into the community to aid front line workers, the immunocompromised and senior citizens, this hub will provide everything in one place. I also want to thank our healthcare team- this is the perfect example of a public-private partnership delivering an essential service for the people of Camden County.”
In addition to providing vaccines for the general population, the Commissioners will also be preparing for another cohort of residents — children 5 years old and up — who will become eligible for the Pfizer vaccine in the coming weeks after FDA approval is granted. This cross-section of the population will also drive demand for more first doses of the vaccines as well.
Joseph Montella, MD, chief medical officer at Cooper University Health Care, explained the importance of working together as a team to fight against the virus.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, in March 2020, Cooper has been a leader in the region’s COVID-19 response,” Montella continued. “And we are proud to partner, once again, with Camden County Health Department and other local agencies and organizations as we continue vaccination efforts in South Jersey.”
To be clear, the Camden County Department of Health and its partners are anticipating booster approvals for other vaccines in the near future, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will be reviewing clinical trials and research by vaccine manufacturers to approve boosters and doses for children from five to 11 in the coming weeks. Nevertheless, at the current time the only booster available to public is Pfizer, which can only be given to recipients who have had their first two doses.
“Improving our ability to provide vaccines for the community is going to enhance the overall public health of the region and give us the necessary resources to administer more first doses, boosters and third doses of the vaccine,” Dr. Kevin Emmons of Rutgers University-Camden School of Nursing said. “The Rutgers School of Nursing is proud to work besides our partners in the fight against this insidious virus and looking forward to this new venture with the Commissioners and Cooper University Health Care.”
The Camden County Health Hub is being constructed in two phases. The first phase, which opened on Oct. 14, is administering first doses, second doses of Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. It also includes booster doses of Pfizer for eligible members of the population and third doses of both Moderna and Pfizer. Phase two will encompass COVID testing and other amenities starting on Nov. 1.
Congressman Donald Norcross talked about the importance of the partnership for the region.
“The Health Hub demonstrates the tireless commitment of Camden County health professionals, government, and the broader community to look out for each other during this devastating pandemic,” Norcross said. “I hope the accessibility and convenience of car-side vaccines will encourage every eligible person to get their shot. We’ll get through this by looking out for each other as a community, and I applaud our commissioners, Cooper University Health Care, and Rutgers-Camden School of Nursing, and Camden County College for their partnership in this latest effort.”
To be clear, the Camden County Department of Health and its partners are anticipating booster approvals for other vaccines in the near future, but the only booster available to public is Pfizer, which can only be given to recipients who have had their first two doses.
The operational hours for phase one of the health hub are Tuesdays from 4 to 8 p.m. and again on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. These days and times are subject to change based on the demand from the community. Individuals can register for an appointment at www.CamdenCountyVaccine.com and vaccinations and COVID testing are being distributed by appointment only.