Above: Gottheimer with New Bridge Medical Center CEO Deborah Visconi and frontline health care workers at the New Bridge vaccine clinic.
PARAMUS, NJ — Today, October 6, 2021, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) visited the COVID-19 vaccine booster clinic at New Bridge Medical Center to encourage residents, who are eligible, to get the COVID-19 vaccine booster shot — to keep North Jersey families, seniors, and local communities protected.
Booster shots are available to Pfizer vaccine recipients who completed their initial series at least six months ago and who are:
- 65 years and older
- 18 years or older and have underlying medical conditions
- 18 years or older and work in high-risk settings
- 18 years or older and live in high-risk settings
- 18 years or older and live in long-term care settings
Gottheimer was joined today by Bergen New Bridge Medical Center CEO and President Deborah Visconi, New Bridge Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jon Varbaro, and frontline health care workers.
“Let me be clear: If you are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine booster, please get it. Please get it as soon as possible. It is free, it is easy, and it will help you keep yourself, your family, and your community safe,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer. “We have gotten through the worst parts of this pandemic together, and we are starting to come out on the other side — thanks to the tireless work of our frontline health care professionals and to the COVID-19 vaccines. But, we know that to beat the virus once and for all, everyone must get vaccinated and everyone who is eligible must get a COVID-19 vaccine booster.”
“COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and getting vaccinated is the way for us to emerge from this pandemic,” said Deborah Visconi, President and CEO of Bergen New Bridge Medical Center. “With the onset of colder weather driving people indoors, I cannot urge you strongly enough to get your booster or third shot if eligible and if you are still unvaccinated, please come and get your shot.”
“It is incredibly important that everyone who requires a booster or third dose gets one. Additionally, those who are eligible to receive a dose should consider it,” said Gian Varbaro, MD, Chief Medical Officer for Bergen New Bridge Medical Center. “Even more importantly, anybody who still has not received any COVID-19 vaccination should come in to get vaccinated as it is our best tool for protecting ourselves and our community. We know that the overwhelming majority of those hospitalized for COVID-19 are unvaccinated.”
Hopefully, in the coming weeks booster shots will be available to those who received the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines as well.
For CDC information on COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shot, visit here.
Watch the press conference here.
Below: Gottheimer implores New Jersey residents to get vaccinated and get booster shots if they are eligible.
Below: Gottheimer greets a visitor to New Bridge’s vaccine clinic.
Below: Gottheimer with Bergen New Bridge Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jon Varbaro and President & CEO Deborah Visconi.
Rep. Gottheimer’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
Thank you to the team here at Bergen New Bridge Medical Center for your tireless work, especially this last year and a half, and for all you’ve done for our families during COVID to keep us safe. We just heard from Chief Medical Officer Dr. Varbaro, and New Bridge’s President and CEO Deborah Visconi. It is such a privilege to join you today to discuss the importance of COVID-19 vaccines and the booster shots available right now.
Here in New Jersey, we have had more than 1.1 million COVID-19 cases and, sadly, more than 27,500 deaths. At the start of this crisis, North Jersey was directly in the eye of the COVID-19 storm. This pandemic has taken far too many lives, caused real trauma, hurt our communities and small businesses in ways that we will be dealing with for years to come. But we’ve gotten through the worst parts of it together, and we are starting to come out on the other side — thanks to the tireless work of our frontline health care professionals and to the COVID-19 vaccines.
These vaccines are true feats of science and innovation that have already saved millions of lives. I want to thank our life saving research and development teams who helped save humanity. We have already seen the miracles of the COVID-19 vaccines. Cases are down exponentially in New Jersey and other states with high vaccination rates, and — more importantly — deaths are also way down. These vaccines are 99 percent effective against severe illness and death and these vaccinations are the key to ending this pandemic once and for all.
New Jersey now has some of the lowest case and death rates in the country. But we still have far too many cases across our nation … and 99 percent of those who are very sick and dying are unvaccinated.
I know you all believe, like I do, that we want to get back to life as normal … no masks in schools, fully back to work, and with our local communities fully rebounding.
In the meantime, until this disease is eliminated once and for all, we know that one key to keeping people safe and beating the virus is getting a COVID-19 vaccine booster.
It’s so important to ensure everyone who is eligible right now is getting the vaccine booster. That is how we prevent the spread of hyper-contagious variants like the Delta variant and prevent the development of new variants that could be even more contagious or deadly than the ones we have already seen.
As noted by Dr. Varbaro and New Bridge CEO Visconi, booster shots are available to Pfizer vaccine recipients who completed their initial series at least six months ago and who are 65 years and older. Additionally, they are available to Pfizer vaccine recipients who completed their first series six or more months ago and are 18 years or older who have underlying medical conditions, work in high-risk settings, live in high-risk settings, or live in long-term care settings. And we are hopeful that in the coming weeks booster shots will be available to those who received the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines as well.
Now, let me be clear: if you are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine booster, please get it. Please get it as soon as possible. It is free, it is easy — here at Bergen New Bridge Medical Center in Paramus and at other locations across North Jersey — and it will help you keep yourself, your family, and your community safe, and it will help us finally end this pandemic once and for all.
We have seen what has happened in states around the country, where residents refused to get vaccinated. Here in New Jersey, we were smarter than that — more than 65% of our state is fully vaccinated, and with that number comes fewer deaths and hospitals that are able to effectively treat patients. But, for us to ensure that we maintain this progress, those eligible must get their booster shots, and those not yet fully vaccinated must seek or complete their initial vaccination series.
Additionally, pregnant women should take the step to get vaccinated if they haven’t already. This past week, the CDC issued an urgent warning to pregnant women to please get vaccinated, for themselves and for their babies. It is safe, recommended by the CDC, and there is growing evidence that mothers pass on antibodies to their children.
We can only end this pandemic if we ALL do our part to get vaccinated and get booster shots when we are eligible.
Our communities here in New Jersey and throughout the New York and New Jersey metro area faced the brunt of this pandemic for too long. The vaccine gave us hope, it let us begin to get back to normal life, and now the booster shots will allow us to keep that normal life going.
We have come too far to turn back now.
As we work to get through the final stages of this pandemic — with our heroic frontline medical workers beside us — I know that, here in the greatest country in the world, our best days will always be ahead of us.
Thank you and God bless.