By Gregory T. Federspiel
We are all anxiously waiting for the opportunity to get our COVID vaccination. The roll-out of the vaccines have not been particularly smooth at the federal and state levels given the limited supplies of the vaccines and the logistical challenges of handling the vaccine and administering shots. But progress is being made and slowly people are receiving their shots.
The Town, through the hard work of Council on Aging Director Nany Hammond and Board of Health Administrator Ellen Lufkin, is facilitating a vaccination clinic this coming Saturday, 2/13, from noon to four at the Sacred Heart Church Parish Hall. Per state requirements, this is for people 75 and older. After consulting with Allen’s Pharmacy, we have partnered with Conley’s Drug Store of Ipswich who will be conducting the clinic. Registration for a vaccination shot is required and can be made through Conley’s on-line appointment system at https://hipaa.jotform.com/210341706490145. For additional assistance, residents can call the Council on Aging’s office at 978-526-7500. Medicare or other insurance will cover the cost of administering the shots. There is no co-pay required.
The vaccination requires a second dose to be most effective. Those who get their first dose this coming Saturday will be scheduled for their second dose in 3 weeks on Saturday, March 6, 2021.
To date, the Town has been able to secure vaccinations for all our Police and Fire Fighters/EMTs, our veterans, and now residents 75 and older. The state continues to ramp up their “mega clinics”, with the closest one to us being in Danvers at the Double Tree Hotel. Registration for this site is through the state’s on-line system or by calling the state’s 211 helpdesk. Local hospitals are collaborating with the primary care physicians that are affiliated with them, contacting eligible patients to get vaccinated at the hospital. Pharmacies are another option. Walgreens and CVS drugstores are rolling out clinics as well as independent pharmacies like Conley’s. Each week sees improvement with more options coming on-board.
The Town will continue to monitor how best we can facilitate local clinics. The state determines when the different phases of eligibility begin. We are still in the first tier of Phase 2, working on people 75 and older. Phase 1 focused on health care workers, first responders, care givers and residents of long-term care facilities. As noted in the graphic, the second tier in Phase 2 will be individuals over 65 and those with 2 or more comorbidities. In the meantime, please continue your routines of wearing a mask, distancing and avoiding gatherings.