New drive-thru vaccine clinic to open at GCC

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Staff Writer
Published: 4/20/2021 2:41:32 PM
Modified: 4/21/2021 1:41:24 PM

GREENFIELD –  A new centralized drive-thru COVID vaccine clinic will open at Greenfield Community College with the first ones being held Thursday and Friday.

The clinic, run by Franklin Regional Council of Governments’s Cooperative Public Health Service, will welcome everyone 18 years old and older.

The state opened eligibility to everyone 16 years old and older on Monday, but the drive-thru at GCC will administer Moderna vaccine, which is not currently approved for those ages 16 and 17. Pfizer/BioNTech is the only vaccine approved for that age group.

The Franklin County Vaccine Collaborative Clinic schedule and instructions on how to register can be found on the FRCOG website at 222.franklincountymavaccine.org. Check the site each Monday afternoon to see when the upcoming week’s clinics will open for public registration.

FRCOG Emergency Preparedess Program Manager Tracy Rogers said the collaborative clinics have administered more than 15,000 doses with 67 percent of them going into the arms of county residents.

According to all vaccination sources, including mass vaccination sites, doctors’ offices and others in the area, a total of 44 percent of the people living in Franklin County have had their first shot and 29 percent, or 20,860 people, are fully vaccinated.

“We are thrilled to see the numbers tick up each week, and we are excited to continue putting more shots in arms as eligibility is now open to everyone who’s able to receive a vaccine,” Xander Sylvain, also part of the emergency preparedness team, said.

Franklin Regional Council of Governments is closing its rotating satellite or “spoke” clinics in favor of the single larger site at GCC.

Rogers said the agency decided to move to a larger, more peramanent site because it has cost between $600 to $1,000 to move equipment from clinic to clinic. She said closing the smaller clinics has nothing to do with how they have been running.

“They’ve done a great job,” she said.

Rogers said spoke clinics could return in the future, if the county starts receiving enough vaccines to run them.

Orange’s drive-thru clinic

Orange will continue to operate its own clinic indefinitely — it is a member of the Worcester County public health coalition because it works so closely with Athol in Worcester County. 

A portion of the vaccines the state allocates to FRCOG each week will continue to be reserved by the agency for the Orange drive-thru clinic at Ralph C. Mahar Regional School, though. The amount of vaccines and regularity of how often they are delivered are based on the most up-to-date data to ensure equity throughout the region.

Standby list

There is now a Franklin County Regional Vaccine Clinic No-Waste Standby List. The list will be used to call individuals for doses left at the end of ongoing clinics. Once a vial is open — each contains 10 doses — it must be used within several hours. The standby list is deleted at the end of each week and a new one is started.

To find the list, information about upcoming clinics or to register for a vaccine, visit franklincountymavaccine.org. For more information on FRCOG’s clinics, call 413-774, ext. 153.

Other resources

For more information about the Greenfield clinic at John Zon Community Center on Pleasant Street, call 413-775-6411 or email vaccine.clinics@greenfield-ma.gov.

For information about state-run sites like the ones at the University of Massachusetts Amherst or Eastfield Mall in Springfield, visit maimmunizations.org.

Baystate Franklin Medical Center administers vaccines once a week in Greenfield, and area doctors are calling their eligible patients based on the number of doses they receive each week. CVS and Big Y also administer the vaccine when it is available, and the Community Health Center of Franklin County is vaccinating patients at its Greenfield office on Main Street.

For help scheduling an appointment, arranging transportation or if you are a homebound person, call LifePath at 413-829-9285. People without access to the internet can get help scheduling an appointment at a state-run vaccination site by calling 211.

Reach Recorder reporter Anita Fritz at 413-772-9591 or afritz@recorder.com.

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