Inspira Health to Hold Second Coronavirus Town Hall February 18

by Amy Mansue, Inspira Health President and CEO

New Jersey continues to make progress in our fight against COVID-19. As of February 4, the number of vaccines administered—876,529—now surpasses the number of positive cases—629,360—in our state. This milestone should help provide some hope that together, if we can maintain this positive course, we can get closer to a COVID-free community.

Hundreds of thousands of New Jersey residents have made the choice to protect themselves and others by receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

Of those vaccinated include our health care heroes who have worked to care for you and your loved ones since the pandemic first arrived here nearly a year ago. Our team understands the importance of receiving the vaccine to help continue to provide safe and quality health care.

Meredith Spena, RN, MSN, CIC, Manager, Infection Prevention and Control, Inspira Medical Centers Mullica Hill and Woodbury, and Ambulatory Services shares that she received the vaccine because: “I want this pandemic to end. I trust the science [and] it is the best way to prevent COVID-19 and to protect my family.

“I am a breastfeeding mother, a group that was excluded from clinical trials,” noted Spena (pictured). “I have done my own research, and have also discussed with experts in pediatrics, pharmacology and epidemiology. I can’t say that I wasn’t slightly nervous because of the lack of data on breastfeeding mothers and their infants. But I trust the science and the experts in this field. I am thrilled that I will be able to offer antibodies to my baby, and not be a source of transmission to my family.

“I will continue to wear a mask, social distance, and wash my hands frequently, but this added layer of protection makes me feel so much more relaxed living in a world with COVID-19.”

While we’ve made significant progress among our initial priority groups, including our own Ms. Spena, there is still much work to be done.

Our goal is to ensure that the vaccine is distributed effectively and equitably among the entire community. We understand there may be hesitancy to receive the vaccine, but please be rest assured that they have been authorized by the FDA because they are safe and effective.

If you have any questions or would like to speak through any concerns regarding COVID-19 and/or the vaccination, please reach out to a health care professional.

I’m excited to invite you to join us on Thursday, February 18 at 2 p.m. for our virtual Community Town Hall. Our experts will be sharing up-to-date information about the COVID-19 vaccination. (We will also be taking questions during the live event.)

One of our experts, Evelyn Balogun, MD, our medical director of Urgent Care and Occupational Health, recently shared this message in a video to Inspira staff: “It is Black History Month. We’re celebrating the contributions of African Americans in different fields, it’s really important that we look at communities of color. Communities of color have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. It is disheartening to see that the rates of vaccination are not mirroring the impact that the virus has had on these communities.”

“In the state of New Jersey that number is actually even worse. I believe it is around 2 percent of African American New Jersey residents have received the vaccine. There’s still a lot of work to be done, and certainly the work needs to factor in issues around trust, knowledge, education and making sure that we also create access points for those that want to be vaccinated.”

“In the communities of color as well, we need leaders to step forth and speak to not just the science, but speak by leadership, by getting vaccinated. I myself have gotten vaccinated.”

I hope to see you all at our virtual Town Hall. Otherwise, until we may have the chance to meet, stay safe, and be well.

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