COVID-19 vaccinations are free to those getting the shot — but they are not free to administer. Four New Jersey-based banks and their affiliated foundations are stepping up to help Hackensack Meridian Health in the effort, donating more than $145,000 to the cause.
The donation from Manasquan Bank, OceanFirst Bank, Peapack-Gladstone Bank and Valley Bank will help support HMH’s staffing and operational efforts to distribute and administer the COVID-19 vaccine to its health care workers and the community.
HMH officials said they spared no expense to create a comprehensive vaccination distribution plan, including purchasing several extreme-temperature freezers necessary for storage of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, as well as setting up more than 30 vaccine distribution locations.
OceanFirst Chairman Chris Maher said the banks were happy to play their part in the fight against the pandemic.
“Regional banks realize that the pandemic has demonstrated the unwavering commitment of our health care workers and hospitals, and we appreciate all that they have done to serve our communities,” he said. “We are hopeful the vaccine will bring relief, and we realize the next challenge is distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to those who are most vulnerable.
“I applaud my fellow bankers who have pledged funding to assist Hackensack Meridian Health in their vaccination efforts and encourage all business leaders to consider supporting this pivotal step to winning the fight against a global crisis.”
Hackensack CEO Bob Garrett said the donation was a big help.
“We are grateful to these respected local banks for their support of our efforts to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to our dedicated team members who have been on the front lines of this crisis, working each day to provide compassionate, high-quality care under these difficult circumstances,” he said.
“As New Jersey’s largest health network, Hackensack Meridian Health has been preparing for this pivotal moment in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. We have already begun administering the COVID-19 vaccine to our vital health care heroes and will roll it out to the community as soon as the shipments are received.”
HMH officials said they are working closely with the Department of Health to support the state’s wide-scale vaccination program, whose goal is to vaccinate 70% of the adult population in the state in a six-month period.
MHM Chief Development Officer Joyce Hendricks was grateful for the gift.
“Thanks to the gifts from these tremendous local partners, we will have the additional resources we need to successfully implement our vaccination plan,” she said. “We are at the height of the second wave of an unprecedented pandemic, and these donations will help us secure the additional staff and resources we need to distribute the vaccine, allowing our frontline caregivers to continue to fight and treat patients affected by the virus.”
Valley Bank CEO Ira Robbins said individual health will spur economic health.
“COVID-19 has devasted our communities and local businesses,” he said. “The quickest and safest way to a full recovery is the expedited distribution of a vaccine. And our health care heroes on the front lines will lead those efforts.
“That’s why we’re proud to join our banking partners and take a leading role in the community in providing the critical support Hackensack Meridian Health needs to distribute and administer the COVID-19 vaccine.”
To make a gift in support of Hackensack Meridian Health’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts, click here.