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‘Vax Bus’ makes a stop in Greenfield

  • Parents and students line up at the “Vax Bus” behind the Federal Street School on Monday afternoon. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Jodi Falk of Greenfield was with her son, fifth-grader Matan Newcomb, at the “Vax Bus” at the Federal Street School on Monday afternoon. Matan was excited about getting the COVID-19 vaccination. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 11/15/2021 4:45:13 PM

GREENFIELD — Dozens of families with young children lined up behind Federal Street School on Monday afternoon, eager, and a little nervous, to receive the first dose of their COVID-19 vaccine.

“I’m nervous,” said Forest Scott. “I got my flu shot and it didn’t hurt, but it hurt to move my arm. I think it will be the same for this.”

Still, bundled up from the cool rain that had just started to fall, Forest was excited to get vaccinated.

“I can’t wait to get it,” the 11-year-old said.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) all approved the Pfizer vaccine for children between 5 and 11 years old. Vaccination will involve two doses, spaced three weeks apart, and each dose will be one-third the dose potency administered to an adult.

To make access easy, the state Department of Public Health “Vax Bus” is scheduled to administer COVID-19 vaccines at public elementary schools throughout Franklin County, as well as at two clinics in Hampshire County.

“Schools right now — it’s very, very tough for schools to be in session,” Phoebe Walker, director of community services for the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG), said previously. “The fact small children aren’t vaccinated makes it really hard to protect everybody in school and ensure continuation of education. This really addresses a need of the school nurses in our region, who can see how much this is impacting the students.”

The mobile vaccine clinic that took place at Federal Street School on Monday afternoon represented the Vax Bus’ second stop on the tour of the county. The first mobile clinic was held Friday afternoon at Pioneer Valley Regional School in Northfield.

“I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time,” said Kelly Savitri, school nurse at Greenfield High School.

Brothers Luciano and Noah Stoffolano also said they were happy to begin the vaccination process.

“I’m pretty excited,” said Luciano, 10, a student at the Discovery School at Four Corners. “It’ll protect me from COVID.”

Noah, 6, added that he looks forward to when he doesn’t have to wear a mask.

For others at the clinic, vaccination was a step closer to returning to their favorite activities.

“(Once fully vaccinated), I can finally do horse riding lessons,” said Summer Scott, 11, a student at Greenfield Middle School.

Ellen Waldron, who was at the vaccine clinic on Monday with her daughter and a friend, said “it was a relief” to have an opportunity so close to home to vaccinate her child.

“I had a conversation with her pediatrician, and they gave it two thumbs up,” Waldron said of the vaccine. “We definitely trust the doctors.”

Waldron’s daughter, Amelia, said although shots make her nervous, she brought a stuffed animal friend for moral support. Still, Amelia, 8, was excited about getting the vaccine.

“Then, I can’t get COVID,” she said.

While the mobile clinics are geared toward the younger segment of the population, they are also open to anyone who is looking for an adult vaccination (Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson will be available), or who is eligible for a booster shot. Children who are not enrolled as students at schools where clinics will be held are also still eligible to be vaccinated there.

Registrations can be made at franklincountymavaccine.org. Dates for second dose clinics will be announced at a future date.

Vax Bus dates, registration links

■Nov. 17: Deerfield Elementary School

■Nov. 18: William E. Norris School (Southampton)

■Nov. 19: Sunderland Elementary School

■Nov. 22: Newton School (Greenfield)

■Nov. 23 Erving Elementary School

■Nov. 29: Sheffield Elementary School (Turners Falls)

■Nov. 30: Hawlemont Regional School (Charlemont)

■Dec. 1: Dexter Park School (Orange)

■Dec. 2: Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School (Shelburne)

■Dec. 3: Leverett Elementary School

Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne


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