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Despite closure of satellite COVID-19 vaccine clinics, Orange’s operations to remain open

  • Jenny Potee, public health nurse for the town of New Salem, gives New Salem resident Lori Lunn a COVID-19 vaccine in the parking lot of Ralph C. Mahar Regional School in Orange in February. Staff File Photo/Paul Franz

  • Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Staff File Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 4/9/2021 6:04:09 PM

ORANGE — Although the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) and its Cooperative Public Health Service have opted to shut down satellite COVID-19 vaccine clinics and consolidate Greenfield’s operations, clinics in Orange will continue because the town is a part of Worcester County’s public health coalition.

Tracy Rogers, FRCOG’s emergency preparedness program manager, explained Orange belongs to the Worcester County coalition because the town is coupled so closely with Athol, which is in Worcester County, in many aspects.

“All we were doing was ordering vaccines and sending it off to them,” she said of FRCOG’s relation to the Orange clinic. FRCOG will continue to serve this role for Orange.

Rogers said she has not been to any of Orange’s drive-thru-style clinics, held in the Ralph C. Mahar Regional School parking lot, but has “heard great things.”

Orange Health Agent Matthew Fortier said the town’s next clinic is Saturday and there is another one scheduled in a couple of weeks. The town is set to soon pick up more vaccines from FRCOG. He does not yet know when the pick-up will be, as he often finds out within 24 hours when vaccines are available. Fortier said patients have been courteous and appreciative of the vaccines and those who administer them.

“We’re very efficient. There’s no question about that,” Fortier said. “Everybody’s happy.”

Rogers said the consolidated Greenfield operation will consist of one larger clinic where all Franklin County residents can get vaccinated. She said “it’s more efficient to just operate out of one location” until vaccines become more abundant. The location of the Greenfield clinics has not yet been selected.

Rogers stressed that, contrary to rumor, the satellite clinics were well run, but the logistics were too cumbersome.

“We have to schlep the equipment from place to place to place,” she said. “It has been working well. They’ve been working smoothly. It is just the time and energy to set it up and break it down every time we move.”

Additional vaccines offered at Orange Walmart

Walmart announced this week that its pharmacies — including the one at 555 East Main St. in Orange — will start vaccinating eligible populations throughout Massachusetts. Appointments are available starting Saturday.

Eligible customers can schedule a vaccine appointment by visiting bit.ly/322Jm9A. Visitors to the website will need to select the desired store, check their eligibility and complete the registration forms. Walmart will also provide a digital reminder when it is time to return for the second dose.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.

Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906


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