Healthcare workers at the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School were the first in the Garden State to receive the COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday morning.

It turns out the head of the Medical School was one of those rolling up his sleeve.

Dr. Robert Johnson, the dean of the Medical School, said the introduction of the vaccine almost feels like “we’re going to save the world.”

“I’ve been around 50 years practicing medicine and I’ve never seen anything like this before in my life — and for a while I wondered whether or not we were actually going to ever get through this," he said. “To see this happen, the development of the vaccine in a relatively short period of time, is really remarkable.”

Johnson also pointed out the fact that this vaccine is almost 95% effective is almost unheard of.

“Hospitals like ours will be able to vaccinate 600 people a day,” he said.

He said initially there was a lot of apprehension about the speed at which the virus was developed, including from some who felt that President Donald Trump rushed it through "in order to make himself look better" and others in minority communities with a longstanding mistrust of the medical community.

He says at this point, however, “as there are now well over 100,000 people throughout the world who have been vaccinated, as we began to develop more faith in the science that is behind all of this, it’s began to change.”

He said now that the vaccine is here, New Jersey residents should embrace it.

“The way we’re going to get back to going out to eat on Saturday night and going to gyms and having all the things we want is to make sure we get immunity throughout the population of the state,” Johnson said.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

1st COVID-19 vaccine administered in Newark

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