December 17, 2020 ― Edison, NJ ― Hackensack Meridian Health, New Jersey’s largest and most comprehensive health network, is pleased to announce that more than $145,000 has already been granted by several leading New Jersey headquartered banks and affiliated foundations, including:  OceanFirst Bank, Peapack-Gladstone Bank, Manasquan Bank and Valley Bank. 

“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,” said Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, chief executive officer of Hackensack Meridian Health. “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.” 

These donations will help support Hackensack Meridian Health’s staffing and operational efforts to distribute and administer the COVID-19 vaccine to its health care workers and the community. The health network has created a comprehensive vaccination distribution plan that follows the expected guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The network purchased several extreme temperature freezers necessary for storage of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine and identified sites within the network that will accept doses, and over 30 vaccine distribution locations. 

“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,” said Christopher D. Maher, chairman OceanFirst Bank and OceanFirst Foundation.  “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 Meridian Health is working closely with the New Jersey Department of Health to support the state’s wide-scale vaccination program, whose goal is to vaccinate 70 percent of the adult population in the state in a six-month period. 

“Thanks to the gifts from these tremendous local partners, we will have the additional resources we need to successfully implement our vaccination plan,” said Joyce Hendricks, chief development officer, Hackensack Meridian Health. “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 front-line caregivers to continue to fight and treat patients affected by the virus.” 

“COVID-19 has devasted our communities and local businesses,” remarked Ira Robbins, Valley Bank president and chief executive officer. “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.” 

Hackensack Meridian Health has organized an experienced team of health care professionals to administer the vaccine and the network is preparing to offer the vaccine to all of its physicians and team members across the state, as well as the community. “The COVID-19 vaccine is a game-changer and marks the beginning of the end of the worst health care crisis in a century. This is truly a remarkable breakthrough; we have safe and effective vaccines in record time. We believe it’s important for our health care workers to get vaccinated, setting an example for our communities about the importance of getting this potentially life-saving vaccine,” added Mr. Garrett.

Hackensack Meridian Health’s Center for Discovery and Innovation (CDI) participated in the vaccine evaluation process, partnering with leading pharmaceutical companies and government entities to test the vaccines through clinical trials at Hackensack University Medical Center, the network’s flagship academic medical center.  

To make a gift in support of Hackensack Meridian Health’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts, please visit



Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization that is the largest, most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care. 

Hackensack Meridian Health comprises 17 hospitals from Bergen to Ocean counties, which includes three academic medical centers – Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, JFK Medical Center in Edison; two children’s hospitals - Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital in Hackensack, K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital in Neptune; nine community hospitals – Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair, Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, Pascack Valley Medical Center in Westwood, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, and Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin; a behavioral health hospital – Carrier Clinic in Belle Mead; and two rehabilitation hospitals - JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in Edison and Shore Rehabilitation Institute in Brick. 

Additionally, the network has more than 500 patient care locations throughout the state which include ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, fitness and wellness centers, rehabilitation centers, urgent care centers and physician practice locations. Hackensack Meridian Health has more than 34,100 team members, and 6,500 physicians and is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy, committed to the health and well-being of the communities it serves. 

The network’s notable distinctions include having four hospitals among the top 10 in New Jersey by U.S. News and World Report. Other honors include consistently achieving Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center and being named to Becker’s Healthcare’s “150 Top Places to Work in Healthcare/2018” list. 

The Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, the first private medical school in New Jersey in more than 50 years, welcomed its first class of students in 2018 to its On3 campus in Nutley and Clifton. Additionally, the network partnered with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to find more cures for cancer faster while ensuring that patients have access to the highest quality, most individualized cancer care when and where they need it. 

Hackensack Meridian Health is a member of AllSpire Health Partners, an interstate consortium of leading health systems, to focus on the sharing of best practices in clinical care and achieving efficiencies. 

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