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Governor visits NJ Transit worker vaccine clinic

NJ Dept. of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli looks on as NJ Transit employee Theresa Tillar gets an elbow bump from NJ Governor Phil Murphy after Tillar received her vaccination at the New Jersey Transit Maplewood facility where employees were being vaccinated on March 19. Photo: Chris Pedota for NorthJersey.com.

Governor Phil Murphy visited a vaccine clinic for NJ Transit workers in Maplewood on Friday morning. He was joined by New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, NJ Transit President and CEO Kevin Corbett, and NJ Transit Chief Safety Officer Brian Lapp.

NJ Transit has set up two vaccination clinics at its facilities in Maplewood and Camden. Between March 4 and 10, 300 frontline workers who deal directly with the public and who also met state Department of Health vaccination eligibility requirements received the vaccine. The agency received another 500 Moderna vaccines this week, and all appointments for the available doses are booked.

“This is impressive, they’ve done a really good job,” Murphy said of the NJ Transit vaccination clinic in Maplewood. “We want to see more supplies, more locations, and more hours.”

All active, frontline employees for the transit agency became eligible for vaccines on March 15, along with teachers and daycare workers. Frontline workers at the state agency include NJ Transit police officers, bus drivers, rail conductors, assistant conductors, locomotive engineers, and customer service representatives. Workers must sign up for a vaccination appointment on a dedicated website and have the date and time confirmed.

At least 21 NJ Transit workers have died as a result of complications from COVID-19, including 11 bus drivers and one train conductor.

Corbett said agency employees are thankful for the governor’s commitment to vaccinate transit workers.  “For the frontline employees who have been out there all year, taking risks for themselves, we’ve lost 21 employees, so it means a lot to them and a lot to me,” Corbett said.

Labor unions have called on NJ Transit officials to lobby harder to get more vaccine doses for workers.

Press pool coverage of the event was provided by reporter Colleen Wilson of NorthJersey.com. We also reviewed a live video provided by the governor’s office of Murphy’s visit to the NJ Transit vaccination clinic.