BIG SHOT: Johnston’s mayor is still the town’s vaccinator-in-chief

Joseph M. Polisena has administered around 2,000 of 15,000 shots at town clinics


Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena is about to resume what many people will attest has perhaps been the most important duty of his storied tenure.

On Monday, Feb. 7, Polisena, as Johnston Police Chief Joseph Razza announced, “Will roll up his sleeves and put his registered nursing skills and medical experiences to work — once again!”

Ever since the Johnston Police and Fire departments began battling the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic by providing the well-received and valuable free vaccination clinics, Polisena has personally vaccinated approximately 2,000 of the 15,000-plus residents who have taken advantage of the unique and free offer.

 So, on Monday Polisena will add to his record-setting mark and as Razza reported “is looking forward to helping vaccinate more Johnstonians” during another highly-important POD (Point of Distribution) Clinic inside the 28,000-square-foot Indoor Recreation Center that offers ample parking and as it has in previous sessions ensured the required social distancing.

“From when we began vaccination clinics on Feb. 17, 2021, for residents ages 75 and older, the Mayor has been extremely hands-on and an integral part of POD planning and operations,” Razza emphasized. “The Mayor has served as a vaccinator at every clinic we’ve had throughout the pandemic.”

Monday, Polisena will continue that practice, this time vaccinating those children 5-to-11 years old from 6 to 9 p.m. and as Razza explained people should go on-line and register at

Polisena has even gone with Johnston Firefighters and vaccinated residents in the town’s congregate hosing facilities like Simmons Village and Allegra Court. He has even administered vaccinations at school-based clinics the town has offered at Johnston High School.

That’s why Razza asked Polisena to join him at the podium after the Chief, Mayor and Deputy Chief Mark Vieira honored upwards of 40 men and women of the JPD during a Recognition of Excellence Awards Ceremony.

“Our last award tonight goes to an individual who has selflessly served the community of Johnston with steadfast dedication,” Razza said. “This individual donated professional expertise and countless hours of personal time to the residents of Johnston because of his committed service and devotion to the town. This individual is truly obligated to seeing people stay healthy and saw to it that everyone who wanted to get vaccinated got vaccinated.”

Razza then presented Polisena with an inflated syringe and continued: “I’ve never met an individual who was so committee or determined to beating the pandemic and keeping his residents safe as the Mayor. So, on behalf a grateful community — and a proud chief — I present you with this making a difference award.”

There was applause and laughter as Polisena held the inflated syringe.

Razza, though, had one more super special surprise, a personalized plaque that read: “In honor of your leadership of the Town of Johnston through an unprecedented global pandemic and your unwavering commitment to your residents in protecting their health and safety through inclusive and expansive vaccination protocols. Your dedication is recognized and truly appreciated.”

Polisena later said: “I thought it was very nice of Chief Razza to present me with the Johnston Police Department Civilians Awards for Meritorious Acts for administering COVID-19 vaccinations to our residents. It was humbling and very much appreciated. I continue to stand ready to assist the residents of Johnston as much as I can. This is what public service is all about — helping people and their families in a time of need.”

As Razza later noted, while announcing Monday’s clinic: “As he has done time and again, Mayor Polisena is ready to give our residents — as the old adage goes — another highly-important shot in the arm Monday night!”

Polisena this week said “I enjoy being able to utilize my opposition as Mayor and as a registered nurse to ensure that the residents of Johnston get vaccinated. I was honored to be able to administer vaccinations to so many people, and I stand ready to continue taking care of our resident’s health.”


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