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Greenfield mayor pleased with first responder vaccine clinic, COVID-19 testing site

  • Northfield firefighter Jim Wright is checked in to receive a COVID-19 vaccination by AMR paramedics Suellen Bellows and Martin Biela at the John Zon Community and Senior Center in Greenfield last week. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Greenfield Mayor Roxann Wedegartner at City Hall. Staff File Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 1/21/2021 3:31:03 PM

GREENFIELD — Mayor Roxann Wedegartner says testing for COVID-19 and vaccinating first responders against the virus has been “very successful” in Greenfield, and she’s proud of the job that has been done.

“We have vaccinated 480 first responders from across the county and we’ll be done Friday,” she said Wednesday.

Wedegartner said she is pleased with the vaccine clinic the city has been holding for first responders at the John Zon Community Center on Pleasant Street.

“People have been so cooperative,” she said, “and we’ve had so many volunteers helping. It has been an extraordinary accomplishment for the city.”

The mayor said Emergency Management Director and Fire Chief Robert Strahan, Police Chief Robert Haigh Jr., her Chief of Staff Danielle Letourneau and all of the volunteers, including nurses, have been key to the clinic’s success.

“This was an initiative of the city of Greenfield through our Health Department,” Strahan said last week during the first day of vaccinations at the John Zon Community Center. “Our goal is to get 600 Franklin County first responders completed. … From the Fire Department’s standpoint, it was important for us to make sure our first responders were protected. And we felt that, being the seed of the county, it was important to do the rest of the county as well.”

The mayor agreed, saying it is extremely important that first responders be vaccinated as quickly as possible.

“They are on the front lines,” she said. “Our ambulances and other first responders are arriving to help very sick people and we have to keep them safe. Our ambulances are working nonstop.”

First responders will each get their second dose of the vaccine in a few weeks, at which time a “broader and wider” range of people will receive their initial vaccinations, Wedegartner said.

“We are working with Franklin Regional Council of Governments to discuss how we will roll out those vaccines,” she said. “We’ll announce that when we’re there.”

Wedegartner said the state’s Stop the Spread testing site which opened Jan. 11 at Greenfield Community College, has also been a success. While she doesn’t know how many people have been tested, she said there has been a steady, daily stream of people.

“We’ll get through this virus,” she said. “People are getting tested and first responders are getting vaccinated. That’s all good news.”

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

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