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Manalapan MRC-CERT receives funding from national association

MANALAPAN – The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), the voice of the country’s nearly 3,000 local health departments, has announced the recipients of the 2020 Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) COVID-19 Operational Readiness Awards.

These awards, made possible through a cooperative agreement with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response’s Medical Reserve Corps Program Office, will help support 32 MRC units that are actively supporting or planning COVID-19 responses by building unit response capabilities through the development of response plans to support COVID-19 and providing resources to support their activities, according to a press release from the association.

The Manalapan Medical Reserve Corps-Community Emergency Response Team (MRC-CERT) will receive a $5,000 award, according to the press release.

Manalapan Health Officer Keith Levine told the News Transcript, “the Manalapan MRC-CERT, which was founded in 2002, is grateful to be a recipient of one of the 2020 Medical Reserve Corps COVID-19 Operational Readiness Awards from the association.

“This award will help our team in the preparation and completion of COVID-19 point of distribution (POD) vaccination clinics of which we are currently immersed with our public health partners in preparing for.

“In times like the one we are experiencing now with the COVID-19 pandemic, a POD event is the most effective way to handle the mass vaccination of a community.

“However, these events require intense planning by public health officials and have many costs associated with them such as equipment, medical supplies, labor costs and training of employees.

“At a time when funding of public health initiatives is in short supply, this grant from NACCHO is very much appreciated,” Levine said.

According to the municipal website, Manalapan established an MRC in 2002. The township then built a CERT within the same group in 2003. The organization now totals more than 300 members.

“The Manalapan team combines the missions of both federal MRC and CERT models. Thus the MRC-CERT is attractive to persons with or without medical background. The team meets frequently through the year for refresher training and drills, and also supports municipal sponsored events …

“The team has been activated to help staff shelters, ice distribution and cell phone charging stations and 24-hour information lines during storms such as Irene and Sandy, and has assisted in searches for missing persons and large-scale vaccination clinics.

“The Manalapan MRC-CERT provides a unique opportunity for community members to help support their community during times of emergency, as well as helping educate the community using various strategies to become better prepared for emergencies.

“Community members with medical experience and credentials, and those without medical backgrounds are welcome. The MRC-CERT provides training and equipment and schedules exercises and drills to practice skills. It has become a very vibrant group,” according to the website.

Any Manalapan resident age 18 and over is welcome to join MRC-CERT. For more information, call 732-446-8348 or send an email to

The national MRC network comprises approximately 180,000 volunteers in 800 community-based units throughout the United States and its territories.

Throughout the COVID-19 response, MRC units have been called upon to support operations including contact tracing, testing, telehealth services, logistics and emergency operation center services, according to the press release from NACCHO.

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