A campaign from NFL Alumni Health, in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), aims to build COVID-19 vaccination confidence in metro areas around the country – including in the New York/New Jersey region. Former New York Giants and world champion offensive lineman and NFL Alumni NY/NJ president Roman Oben, former New York Giants, three-time Pro Bowler and world champion center Shaun O’Hara and former New York Jets quarterback Ray Lucas are among the more than 50 players lending their voices to the education and awareness campaign. The effort encourages people to get informed, discuss their vaccine questions with their health care providers, and make the decision to get vaccinated. The initiative includes public service announcements, a campaign website, social media posts and local events held in collaboration with health care providers and public health organizations.
To encourage vaccination, the NFL Alumni NY/NJ Chapter will team up with St. Joseph’s Health to host a mobile vaccination clinic at 11 Getty Ave., Paterson, N.J., adjacent to St. Joseph’s University Medical Center. The event on Saturday, December 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. offers eligible participants free doses and boosters of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for ages five and up. The outdoor event will also feature photos with Santa and NFL Alumni, hot chocolate and cookies, and NFL Alumni giveaways.
“NFL Alumni Health’s mission is to promote the health of former players, the health of children, and the overall health of the community,” said Oben. “That’s why we’re excited to team up with the CDC and St. Joseph’s to promote vaccine education and awareness. If you have any questions about COVID-19 vaccines, I encourage you to talk to your doctor about your concerns so you can make an informed choice about getting vaccinated.”
Oben, O’Hara, Lucas, former New York Giants world champion wide receiver David Tyree, former New York Jets guard David Szott, and other NFL alumni will be on-hand to meet and greet participants and sign autographs. Insert descriptions of other players. Attendees may also enter a raffle to win a player-signed NFL Alumni football. O’Hara (Hillsborough), Lucas (Harrison), Tyree (Montclair) and Szott (Clifton) all were New Jersey high school football standouts; O’Hara and Lucas both played for Rutgers University.
Millions of people in the U.S. have received COVID-19 vaccines, which has undoubtedly saved many lives across the country. But, despite widespread availability of vaccines and the emergence new variants, millions of Americans have not yet opted to get vaccinated. The NFL Alumni effort encourages individuals who may be “on the fence” to talk with trusted health care providers and make an informed decision about getting vaccinated.
“The New York/New Jersey region was hit the hardest at the start of the pandemic, but things have dramatically improved, in part due to the availability of vaccines,” said O’Hara. “Getting vaccinated is an individual choice, but I made the decision to do so because I wanted to be proactive and it was the right thing for me, my family, and my community. I hope anyone with questions or concerns about getting vaccinated talks to their doctor to get the information they need to make an informed choice.”
“I’m really excited to see the fans come out Saturday to St. Joe’s in Paterson, to say hi, get any concerns they have about the COVID-19 vaccine addressed and, if they choose, to get vaccinated,” Lucas said. “There’s so much misinformation out there about vaccines that, to make an informed decision how best to protect yourself and your family, you talk to your doctor or other trusted health care provider to get the answers you need.”
Nationally, more than 50 current and former NFL players are participating in the vaccination awareness effort, including 20 world champions, 27 Pro Bowlers and 16 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“We’re thrilled to team up with these NFL greats to offer a vaccine that has proven to be safe and effective,” said Kevin J. Slavin, President & CEO, St. Joseph’s Health. “At St. Joseph’s and throughout our communities, we’ve seen first-hand the devastating impact of COVID, and we’re grateful to join together to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.”
With over 92,000 vaccines provided, St. Joseph’s has led the way in giving Passaic County and Northern New Jersey residents their “shot of hope.” Earlier this year, St. Joseph’s partnered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to serve as Passaic County’s vaccination center, bringing vaccines to the most vulnerable within the Paterson community.
NFL Alumni Health is a wholly-owned subsidiary launched by NFL Alumni, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, to improve the health and wellness of NFL Alumni members and the broader public.
Other NFL Alumni Chapter cities and regions participating in the program include Arizona, Atlanta, Baltimore, the Carolinas, Chicago, Cincinnati, the Dakotas, Dallas, Detroit, the Gulf Coast, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Northern California, the Pacific Northwest, Philadelphia, Richmond, Southern California, Tampa Bay and Tennessee.
For more information about the campaign and resources, go to www.nflalumnihealth.org/covid-19.