Montclair, NJ – The Montclair Fund for Educational Excellence (MFEE) has partnered with other local organizations to host a Back to School Covid-19 Vaccination event on August 29th, 2021 at Wally Choice Community Center, 49 Maple Avenue, from 12pm – 4pm. Essex County will provide three vaccines: Pfizer (for ages 12 and older), and Moderna and Johnson and Johnson for those 18 and up. Pre-registration is encouraged, and walk-ins are also welcome. Thanks to a very generous donor, the first 50 people who register to be vaccinated at the event will be eligible to receive $100 with proof of full vaccination! Register in English: https://bit.ly/Aug29MFEECovidVaccination or Spanish: https://bit.ly/29deagosto_VacunasContraCovid
With the Delta variant triggering increased COVID-19 cases across the country, MFEE, along with its community partners Montclair Cobra Football and Cheerleading, Montclair Neighborhood Development Corporation, Brother to Brother Mentoring, and Fourth Ward Councilor David Cummings, is eager to help Montclair residents, particularly teens, get vaccinated. MFEE has hosted several vaccination events since March as part of a grant received from the Partnership for Maternal and Child Health of Northern New Jersey, a regional grantee of the NJ Department of Health. The August 29th event will be held alongside the 14th annual school supply giveaway hosted by the Montclair Sentinels, an association of police officers of color.
As students and families prepare for in-person learning in September, event organizers are making a targeted effort to vaccinate youth twelve and older. “We want to do all we can to ensure that our students are safe and healthy when they return to schools,” says MFEE Executive Director, Masiel Rodriquez-Vars. Montclair Cobras Director and Deputy Chief of Police, Wilhelm Young, adds, “Our continued community outreach and partnership is more vital than ever before. Working with our team of community leaders to assist in providing vaccines will help get us one step closer to beating this virus. The health and safety of our residents, especially the children is of the utmost importance. If we can help in any way, MPD will be there!”
COVID-19 continues to disproportionately impact communities of color, and in Montclair, the percentage of vaccinated Montclair residents of color is disproportionately lower compared to white residents. MFEE’s COVID-19 awareness campaign has been shaped by and designed for Black and Brown community members, with Dr. Renee Baskerville serving as medical consultant and the hiring of Community Health Workers Robin Curry and Aminah Toler. To date, the work has included hosting virtual Town Halls with Dr. Chris Pernell and other local Black doctors, outdoor information sessions at local parks and preschools, social media marketing, and a series of vaccination events at Wally Choice Community Center, among other components.
While some community members are still concerned about the safety of the vaccines, Fourth Ward Councilman, David Cummings noted, “There is clear evidence that vaccinations save lives. This is an opportunity for community groups to come together and impact the residents they serve, and ultimately increase the Township’s vaccination rate making Montclair safer.”
The generous monetary incentives will boost MFEE’s ongoing vaccination efforts. “We couldn’t believe it when we got the call from the donor,” explains Rodriquez-Vars. “Incentives have been very effective in increasing vaccination numbers, and we are overwhelmed by this donor’s personal commitment to ensuring the health of our community.”