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FRCOG moves toward central vaccine center with second-dose clinic at GCC

  • Lisa White, regional public health nurse for the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) holds vials of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in South Deerfield at Tree House Brewing. FRCOG plans to centralize its vaccine clinics at a site to be determined. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 4/12/2021 4:55:50 PM

GREENFIELD — The Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) and its Cooperative Public Health Service are taking the first step to transitioning from administering the COVID-19 vaccine at rotating satellite or “spoke” clinics to a single larger site by holding a second-dose clinic at Greenfield Community College on May 7.

FRCOG Emergency Preparedness Program Manager Tracy Rogers said the agency has decided to move to a larger, more permanent 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.

While FRCOG continues to secure a site — it is still considering several, including GCC and Tree House Brewing in South Deerfield at the former Channing Bete Co. property — where mass vaccinations can be administered, the city of Greenfield will keep its clinic open until May 14 before it joins the agency in its efforts.

Those who received their first shot at spoke clinics between April 4 and April 11 will be directed to GCC for their second dose.

“We’re doing a first-dose clinic this week at Berkshire East in West County,” Rogers said. “We’re hoping that’ll be the last spoke clinic, and that we can close the spokes and consolidate to the larger site by next week.”

Rogers said FRCOG will announce the site as soon as it has been chosen. She said between FRCOG and the city of Greenfield, she expects the clinic will receive at least 2,700 doses a week through April, as the two have totaled.

“As Greenfield ramps down, we’ll ramp up,” 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

Though FRCOG, its members and Greenfield will move to a single site, 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.

State DPH stats

The state Department of Public Health reports that as of April 8, Franklin County had received 39,014 doses of the vaccine — a combination of Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. Forty percent of county residents had received at least once shot, while 23 percent had been fully vaccinated as of April 8.

The state estimates that 3 percent of 13,439 people up to age 19 have been vaccinated in Franklin County; 21 percent of 8,235 people ages 20 to 29; 30 percent of 9,067 people ages 30 to 39; 36 percent of 8,092 people ages 40 to 49; 41 percent of 10,146 people ages 50 to 59; 55 percent of 6,140 people ages 60 to 64; 75 percent of 5,806 people ages 65 to 69; 81 percent of 4,523 people ages 70 to 74; and 83 percent of 5,721 people ages 75 and older.

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 413-774-3167, 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 Anita Fritz at 413-772-9591 or afritz@recorder.com.

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