NJ EMS Task Force Transports More Than 500,000 Vaccines
By RICHARD HUFF, Senior Correspondent | December 27, 2021 | NEW JERSEY
Story No. 122721100
Photo by PROVIDEDNJ EMS Task Force transports more than 500,000 vaccines since June.
The New Jersey EMS Task Force has transported and tracked more than 500,000 vaccine doses since it began the critical process as part of the state of New Jersey’s program to get the right vaccines to the locations where they are needed most.
The NJ EMS Task Force, which has been part of the state of New Jersey’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020, began the tracking and transfer process on June 1st. Working under strict CDC guidelines, teams of highly trained NJ EMS Task Force members are currently transferring upwards of 15,000 doses each week to locations where the demand is highest. The vaccine transfer program is done in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Health.
“We have been part of the state’s COVID-19 mission since the very beginning,” says
Mike Bascom, president of the NJ EMS Task Force. “We are committed to doing everything we can do to assure that vaccines are getting to the places and people that need them most.”
“The New Jersey EMS Task Force has played a critical role throughout the pandemic," said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli.
Indeed, the vaccine transfer process is part of the NJ EMS Task Force’s pandemic response evolution that has gone from working behind the scenes, to supporting testing and vaccination sites, to administering vaccines and more.
"This innovative program to responsibly use existing vaccine doses through safe and effective methods of transfer once again shows the importance of state coordination in close collaboration with our vaccine partners," Commissioner Persichilli said.
Since the pandemic began, the NJ EMS Task Force has worked side by side with local, statewide and national health, emergency management and law enforcement partners to assure residents got the best care. The NJ EMS Task Force partnered with the Visiting Nurse Association of Central New Jersey, the state and others, at regional vaccination sites. The Task Force also developed mobile vaccination programs to bring the much-needed vaccines to people who could not visit traditional vaccination sites. Also, working with the VNACJ, has coordinated staffing at vaccination sites and deployed a drive-through testing site.
Throughout the pandemic, the NJEMSTF has evolved, and grown its mission. Those efforts have been led by the NJEMSTF team of planners - Steven C. Cicala, Anthony Gabriel, Henry Cortacans and Frank Intessimoni - who work tirelessly to strategize and develop new ways of preparing EMS operations across the state to respond to the evolving threats facing residents. Those threats include the ongoing pandemic, natural disasters such as hurricanes, flooding and wildfires, and potential man-made incidents at our ports, rail stations, transportation hubs, and anywhere there could be mass gatherings of people.
Since being activated, NJEMSTF members have handled such missions as deploying Western Shelter tent facilities at 20 hospitals, placing oxygen generators at various facilities, and coordinating the deployment of its medical ambulance bus fleet to transport COVID-19 positive patients from long term care facilities and hospitals. The team also helped coordinate the deployment of hundreds of out-of-state FEMA ambulance teams to assist local agencies at the height of the pandemic.
“Our team has stepped up at every turn in this pandemic,” says Bascom. “They have responded to every challenge the pandemic has created and found real solutions that have directly improved the health of our residents. Throughout, they continue to work on plans for unseen disasters ahead, they continue to provide EMS services in their communities, and they continue to maintain their high-level training. I am proud of our response and continuing work with agencies and officials around the state.”
The NJ EMS Task Force is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that represents more than 200 career and volunteer EMS providers throughout the state, who are trained in various disciplines of emergency medical services to respond to large-scale man-made and natural disasters as well as pre-planned events.
Follow the NJEMSTF on Facebook, on Twitter and online at www.njemstf.org.
This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.