Educators, others fill 500 slots at vaccine clinic

  • Volunteer greeter Linda Smith checked patients’ temperatures and screened for COVID-19 symptoms at a Greenfield vaccine clinic on Sunday. STAFF PHOTO/MAX MARCUS

Staff Writer
Published: 4/11/2021 3:52:39 PM

GREENFIELD — Nearly 500 vaccines were distributed by the city in a clinic on Sunday, with appointments booked solidly from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Registration for the clinic was opened early to educators in the Greenfield Public Schools system. On Thursday, registration was made available to the general public, and within about 20 minutes it was booked completely, said Danielle Letourneau, the chief of staff of the mayor’s office.

“We always book up every appointment we have available,” Letourneau said. “I think that’s pretty typical, except maybe in bigger cities.”

City-organized vaccine clinics have been held regularly at the John Zon Community Center since February, Letourneau said.

Over the months the city has made special efforts to provide vaccines to certain high-priority groups, starting with emergency workers, Letourneau said. This weekend’s clinic, prioritizing educators, was the latest in that campaign.

Appointments are booked in 15-minute intervals. When a patient comes in, a greeter checks their temperature and confirms that they haven’t recently experienced any flu-like symptoms.

“Ushers” then bring the patient to a table, where they receive the vaccine injection and then wait 20 to 30 minutes to be sure that there aren’t any medical complications, Letourneau said.

“It works like a big restaurant,” she said.

The clinic is mostly staffed by volunteers, Letourneau said. Because staff must be certified to administer vaccines, most are medical workers such as EMTs or nurses, she said.

Leaving the clinic at about 10 a.m. on Sunday, Dhru Swadia, who lives in Holyoke, said he was impressed by the clinic’s organizational system.

“It’s very efficiently organized. Good coordination, good logistics,” he said.

The city’s supply of vaccines is determined by the state, Letourneau said. Each week, the city requests a certain amount, but that exact number may not be met by the state. Once the city knows exactly how many vaccines it will have available, that determines how many appointments can be scheduled.

The vaccine available this Sunday, notably, happened to be the one from Johnson and Johnson. Whereas most COVID-19 vaccines require two shots at two separate appointments, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is administered in only one shot.

Kate Seaman, who lives in Greenfield, said she was aware that she would be receiving a single-shot vaccine, but that it hadn’t been a deciding factor for her.

“I was happy to take whatever shot was available,” she said.

Reach Max Marcus at or 413-930-4231.

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