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FRCOG preps for next round of mobile vaccine clinics

  • Vials of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Starting Monday, the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) will host its next round of mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 4/20/2022 4:49:51 PM
Modified: 4/20/2022 4:48:34 PM

Starting Monday, the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) will host its next round of mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics for anyone in need of a first dose, second dose, or their first or second booster.

The first clinic will take place at the Rowe Town Offices from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 25. Hawlemont Regional School will be the final stop of the clinic on May 18.

Each clinic will offer all three types of vaccines — Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson — and is free and open to the public. People are asked to bring health insurance cards, but won’t be turned away without one.

“We’re trying to make it as easy as humanely possible for people to stay up-to-date on their vaccinations,” said Phoebe Walker, director of community services at FRCOG. “By having a bunch of different vaccination clinics at different times, people who may have never gotten their first booster will come, or young people who qualified more recently for their first dose could get their second dose, and anyone over 50 for that second booster.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 86% of Franklin County residents ages 5 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

“The cumulative percentage of people who are eligible who have had at least one dose ... is 86%,” Walker said. “That puts us well behind Berkshire, Middlesex and Suffolk counties and Barnstable county, but we are a little ahead of Hampshire and Hampden (counties).”

Meanwhile, 73% of Franklin County residents eligible for the vaccine are considered “fully vaccinated” — in other words, they have received two doses of Moderna or Pfizer, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“That means there’s quite a few people who still need the second dose and who likely need the boosters,” Walker said, noting the cumulative percentage of people who are fully vaccinated with a booster is 60%. “We’re doing well as a county, but because this is really the only thing that is going to help us get through the pandemic, it’s not really good enough until we’re all vaccinated and boosted. Of course, we’re all urgently waiting for the (vaccine) approval for the under 5 age group.”

Public Health Nurse Meg Ryan said she is most concerned with getting the youngest eligible residents vaccinated.

“The vaccination rate for children is still disappointing,” Ryan said. “I want those kids protected.”

In Massachusetts, 57% of children between 5 and 11 years old have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Ryan said she understands that people are tired of the pandemic, and that everyone just wants “to get back to life as normal.” But vaccines, she said, are the best way to reach that point.

“(Vaccines) are still one of the best protections we have against serious illness and death from COVID,” Ryan said. “It doesn’t prevent getting COVID, but it’s doing an excellent job still at keeping people out of the hospital.”

Schedule of clinics

■April 25, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Rowe Town Offices

■April 26, 1 to 4 p.m. — Erving Senior Center

■May 3, noon to 4 p.m. — Ashfield Town Hall

■May 4, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. — Northfield Senior Center (lower level of Town Hall)

■May 6, 3 to 6 p.m. — Conway Town Offices

■May 10, 2 to 6 p.m. — Turners Falls High School

■May 11, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. — Shelburne Senior Center

■May 11, 3 to 6 p.m. — Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School

■May 12, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — Bernardston Senior Center

■May 12, 3 to 6 p.m. — Colrain Central School

■May 13, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. — Gill Elementary School

■May 18, 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. — Hawlemont Regional School

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


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