Bergen New Bridge Medical Center Begins Staff COVID-19 Vaccination Program

Deb Visconi becomes first NJ Hospital CEO to get vaccinated joining front line, support staff and physician and union leadership receiving the first vaccinations

Paramus NJ, Dec. 18, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- (Paramus, NJ) Bergen New Bridge Medical Center began staff COVID-19 vaccinations today after receiving 975 initial doses of the Pfizer vaccine, to be distributed daily over the next week.

”This milestone moment is when the journey back to normalcy begins,” said Bergen New Bridge President and CEO Deborah Visconi, who was the first New Jersey hospital CEO to receive the vaccine.

“Protecting our healthcare heroes, who have been fighting this pandemic since March, remains my priority,” she said. “Given the number of doses we received, the state’s plan, and our partnership with CVS to vaccinate our long term care residents and staff, I am confident we will have enough doses for all staff who have indicated they want to receive the vaccine. As this historic effort proceeds, we will continue to educate our 2000+ staff members on the vaccine’s safety and efficacy.”

A veteran healthcare executive who has led the state’s largest hospital and nursing home since 2017, Visconi understands the importance of leading by example. She hopes her early adoption of the vaccine will reassure her large, diverse staff.

“CEOs have to put words into action,” Visconi said. “I am on-site day after day in our hospital, and my team looks to me for leadership and support. I am sending a clear message to my workforce that I stand by their side, we’re in this fight together, and I wouldn’t ask them to do anything I was not willing to do.”

Visconi hopes this key message will extend beyond the four walls of the hospital, spilling out into the surrounding Bergen County neighborhoods that are among the hardest hit by COVID-19.

“Not only as a CEO but as a Latina, it is critical to model the vaccine’s safety and efficacy,” she said. “Representing the group that has the greatest disparity within the COVID crisis, this message of confidence and safety is vital for our workforce to hear.”

Visconi has the overwhelming support of her colleagues, senior leadership team, and board members.

“I am proud of Deb for leading the way in the Medical Center’s COVID-19 vaccination program,” said Robert Pacicco, Care Plus Bergen Board Chair. “Today, we take the next important step to protect those who have been safeguarding our communities for months.  It is an essential step to help us emerge from this pandemic.”

“As President of the Bergen New Bridge Medical Staff, this is a leadership moment I was proud to embrace as we come from 9 months of darkness and fear and emerge into the science of vaccination and a new path of hope and healing,” said Barbara Palmer, MD. “The mental health toll COVID-19 has had is significant, and I want to do everything within my power to end this pandemic.”

Other Bergen New Bridge Medical Center staff vaccinated today included Gobindpreet Sohi, MD, Medical Resident; Barbara Rosen, RN, First Vice President of Health Professionals and Allied Employees (HPAE); Mercy Samuels, RN, ICU nurse; Barbara Palmer, MD, psychiatrist and President of the Medical Staff; and James Nettles, transporter, celebrating his 41st work anniversary at the hospital today.

“I have called this hospital home for 41 years. I transported our first COVID-19 recovered patient from ICU to our front door, and I have seen what this virus can do,” said James Nettles.  “I got vaccinated so I can help stop people from getting sick and dying from COVID and to encourage others to get the shot so we can all get back to living.”

Bergen New Bridge will continue its staff vaccination program and is ready to pivot to vaccinating other essential workers when additional vaccine doses arrive. When the supply of vaccine allows, the Medical Center is planning for a robust community vaccination program that focuses on reaching underserved communities who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

The Medical Center has been a leader in COVID testing and continues to provide that service to its communities.  For more information, visit 

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ABOUT BERGEN NEW BRIDGE MEDICAL CENTER                                                                                                                      

Bergen New Bridge Medical Center (BNBMC), a clinical affiliate of Rutgers, is a 1,070-bed hospital located at 230 East Ridgewood Avenue in Paramus, NJ. The Medical Center is both the largest hospital and licensed nursing home in NJ and the fourth-largest publicly-owned hospital in the nation.


Bergen New Bridge Medical Center, a not-for-profit safety net facility, provides high-quality comprehensive services, including acute and ambulatory care from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and community physicians, mental health and substance use disorder treatment, and long-term care to the greater Bergen County community. The Medical Center, including its Long-Term Care Division, is fully accredited by The Joint Commission and is in-network with all major New Jersey commercial insurance plans covering 99.91% of NJ residents.

Bergen New Bridge Medical Center is a full-service hospital with a 24/7 emergency department, surgical suites, physical rehabilitation, pharmacy, laboratory, radiologic services (including digital mammography), and more than 26 medical specialties available through its Ambulatory Care Center. The Medical Center is a Veterans Community Care Provider proudly serving the healthcare needs of veterans and is a Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality in the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) for 2020.  Learn more at


James Nettles, Mercy Samuels, RN, Barbara Rosen, RN, Deb Visconi, Barbara Palmer, MD, Gobindpreet Sohi, MD