MORRIS COUNTY — Morris County and Atlantic Health System (AHS) launched an initiative today to encourage graduating high school and college seniors to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in time for in-person graduation ceremonies and family celebrations this spring.
High school and college seniors in Morris County are being urged to schedule appointments now at the Morris County Regional COVID-19 Vaccination Center at the Rockaway Townsquare Mall in Rockaway Township by clicking here, which leads to Atlantic Health System’s website.
“We are grateful for the fast work of our county professionals who organized this important initiative in just a few days. I also want to recognize the extensive expertise Atlantic Health System staff are bringing to the program as they insert appointments for these young men and women into the intricate operations at the busy vaccination center,” said Morris County Commissioner Director Stephen H. Shaw.
“Atlantic Health System is committed to building healthier communities and that includes helping ensure we can all enjoy life’s important moments safely and in good health,” said Kevin Lenahan, Chief Financial and Administrative Officer, Atlantic Health System. “We proudly join our partners in Morris County is strongly encouraging all eligible students to get vaccinated as soon as they can find an available appointment.”
Students can immediately schedule appointments that are available this week at the Vaccination Center, which has been issuing vaccines to about 4,000 people daily. The student appointments will not interfere with any other scheduled appointments. Students under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult at all vaccination appointments.
“Thanks to the efforts of our healthcare workers and educators, Morris County is a leader in the effort to get our schools reopened,” said Dr. Timothy Purnell, Morris County Executive County Superintendent. “This vaccine deployment is yet another effort to protect the health of our residents, and to get our children back to social interaction and human connection.”
The student vaccination initiative was proposed by John Krickus when he presented vaccination data to the board regarding Morris County, which is leading the state in per-capita inoculations through all the various facilities issuing vaccinations in the county.
Krickus said it is important to create opportunities for student inoculations. It will maximize the ability of educational institutions to resume public high school and college graduation ceremonies and it must be anticipated that friends and families of the graduates will be holding private gatherings.
“We want to give high school seniors and college grads the best chance at having as close to a normal graduation experience as possible. This effort not only protects the students, their families, and their friends during graduation celebrations that inevitably will be held, whether publicly or privately, it also will not affect the supply of vaccine for others in our community who very much need it,” said Commissioner Krickus.
The Commissioner noted the State of New Jersey had already authorized the inoculation of young people over age 16 as of April 19.
The Vaccination Center was opened on January 8 under a partnership with Morris County, Atlantic Health System, the Morris County Sheriff’s Office, and the State of New Jersey. It is operated by AHS medical professionals and staff from the Morris County law and public safety department, with the assistance of the sheriff’s office.