Press Release

For Immediate Release: January 7, 2021

County of Union Vaccinates first resident against Covid-19

Carolyn Smith, Nurse Practitioner at Kean University and resident of Union, first to get Moderna vaccine at County site

Julie Wischusen of Cranford (nurse who provided the vaccination), Carolyn Smith of Union (who received the vaccination), County Commissioner Bette Jane Kowalski, Deputy County Manager Amy Wagner, Kean President Lamont Repollet, Executive Director of the Kean Board of Trustees Audrey Kelly, County Commissioners Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded, Andrea Staten, and Sergio Granados. (photos by David Pilmenstein, County of Union).

Union resident and Kean Nurse practitioner Carolyn Smith receives vaccine from Julie Wischusen, nurse, of Cranford.

The County of Union today vaccinated its first resident today, Carolyn Smith of Union, a nurse practitioner at Kean University, to mark the start of Phase 1A vaccinations, the Board of County Commissioners announced.

The vaccination occurred at the County’s facility at Kean University at approximately 3 p.m.— the start of the first day of operations. Smith, who has more than 20 years of experience in the medical field and is a registered nurse in the states of New Jersey and New York, said:

“I did it because I believe it is important to prevent the spread of the pandemic, to save lives, and protect my family, myself, my patients, and the community. After reviewing information and the science about the pandemic, I believe this is the best thing to do. We must work to stop COVID-19 and vaccination is one of the ways.”

Ms. Smith received her shot from Julie Wischusen of Cranford, a registered nurse who has been a frontline volunteer at Union County’s Drive-Through COVID-19 Test Center at Kean University ever since it opened in March, at the outset of the COVID-19 lockdowns. Her husband, New York Jets announcer Bob Wischusen created the “Let’s Feed Our Heroes” fundraising drive to purchase food for local hospital workers.

Union County Board of County Commissioner Chairman Alexander Mirabella said: “The Board of Commissioners commends Ms. Smith for setting the example and taking the first vaccination. We are pleased to open the vaccination clinic and begin offering life-saving vaccines to those who qualify during the current phase. As more supplies become available, we will announce locations and procedures in accordance with state guidance and we urge all residents to get vaccinated. We have all been depending on each other to stay safe during this pandemic, and each one of us has the power to make a difference in our community.”

County Commissioner Sergio Granados, who chairs the County’s Public Safety/Homeland Security Committee, said: “Today, Union County has taken a major step forward in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic with the kickoff of our vaccination program. Our program began with over 300 vaccinations being provided today alone to those in the 1A category including Ms. Smith, a nurse practitioner at Kean. Our Union County Board of Commissioners will continue to expand the vaccination program to residents as we work with the State of NJ who will guide us through each vaccination phase category.”

The County of Union has begun Phase 1A vaccinations at Kean University. Health care personnel and others, as defined by the New Jersey Department of Health, who are eligible to receive the vaccine, must make an appointment through the County’s website.  For more information about who qualifies under phase 1A or to make an appointment visit ucnj.org/vaccination.​  The County is offering the Moderna vaccine.

Facebook Feed