This is a press release from Essex County. Press releases are official statements that have not been independently verified.

Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced a partnership with urban clergy members to encourage residents in Black and brown communities to receive the COVID-19 vaccination during a press conference at the Essex County COVID-19 Vaccination Center at Essex County College in Newark. During the press event, ministers from religious organizations in Newark, East Orange and Bloomfield, including Rev. Joe Carter, Pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, received their first dose of the vaccination.

“We want to make sure that anyone who wants to take the vaccine has access to it when their turn is called. People hold their religious leaders in high regard and often turn to their faith leaders for direction when they have concerns about things happening in their communities. By partnering with Pastor Carter and other leaders from our faith-based community, we are hoping to demonstrate to residents how safe getting the vaccination is,” DiVincenzo said. “Our efforts will only be successful if at least 70 percent of the population receives the vaccination and herd immunity is developed,” he added.

“I am proud to be part of this so we can fight the skepticism people have about getting the vaccine. The more local we can get this discussion, the more local we can get the synergy is how we are going to make this happen,” said Rev. Joe Carter, Pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Newark.

Also scheduled to receive vaccinations were Rev. Dr. Joseph Hooper and Theresa Hooper from St. Luke AME Church in Newark, Rev. Dr. Kimberly Credit from Smyrna Missionary Baptist Church in Newark, Ruling Elder Warren McNeil from the Newark Presbytery and Rev. Margo Barnes from New Hope Baptist Church in Newark.

“I saw the devastation this virus had on our community. Getting the vaccine is the right thing for me and my family and the community,” said Darrell Terry, President and CEO of Newark Beth Israel Medical Center.

“People in our communities connect to their local churches and lean on spiritual leaders for help. We are talking about an equity issue that we are trying to address and I am proud that when the County Executive rolls out a program he is not afraid to address concerns that arise,” NJ State Senator and Deputy Chief of Staff Teresa Ruiz said.

“We need partners in the community to help spread the word that the vaccine is safe and we appreciate the work the clergy will do to help us,” Commission Vice President Carlos Pomares said.

As of Monday, February 9th, Essex County has administered 47,533 first doses and 10,840 second doses of the vaccine, which is a total of 58,373 total doses. Essex County opened its vaccination sites on December 26, 2020, and was the first county in New Jersey to open vaccination sites.

Essex County is operating five vaccination centers. The locations and the municipalities served at each site are as follows:

* Essex County College, 303 University Avenue, Newark (Gym entrance on West Market Street): Newark, Belleville, East Orange, Irvington and Orange.
* Essex County Donald M. Payne, Sr. School of Technology, 498-544 West Market Street, Newark: Newark, East Orange, Irvington and Orange. (This site will open in January 2021.)
* Former Kmart building, 235 Prospect Avenue, West Orange: West Orange, Cedar Grove, Essex Fells, Montclair, Newark, Nutley and Verona.
* Livingston Mall, former Sears building, 112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston (Entrance is in the back): Livingston, Belleville, Maplewood, Millburn, Newark, Orange and South Orange.
* Essex County West Caldwell School of Technology, 620 Passaic Avenue, West Caldwell: West Caldwell, Bloomfield, Caldwell, Fairfield, Glen Ridge, Newark, North Caldwell and Roseland.
Residents of Newark will be able to make an appointment at any of the five sites because of the size of the city’s population.

Essex County College, the Kmart building and the Sears building are open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The West Caldwell School of Technology is open Monday to Saturday from 12 Noon to 7 p.m. The Donald Payne School is open Monday to Friday from 4 to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Residents can make appointments at or by calling 973-877-8456. Vaccinations will be given in two doses. Residents making reservations to receive the vaccination will receive two appointments. It is critical that residents attend both appointments.

Residents will be asked to provide their medical insurance information and their insurance provider will be billed $16.94 for the first dose and $28.39 for the second dose. If a resident does not have insurance, the cost of the vaccine will be covered by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provide Relief Fund. There will be no out-of-pocket expenses charged to residents.