Lack of doses delays second phase of vaccinations

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North Attleborough Health Director Anne Marie Fleming prepares doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine during a clinic for first responders at the Plainville Public Safety Building held on Jan. 15. Staff Photo/Max Bowen

By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

Earlier this week it Gov. Charlie Baker announced that the second phase of vaccine distribution could begin at the start of February.

However, town officials have since learned that the number of doses available will not be enough.

Currently, the total vaccine allotment for our community is limited to 67 a week,” a statement from the town read. “This allotment is well below the needed vaccine for our community.”

The second phase is set for for those age 75 and older and age 65 and older with two or more comorbidities. The town recently completed first doses for its firefighters, police officers, school nurses, and Meals on Wheels drivers, with the second dose to be administration soon.

The town’s public health nurse, administration, and emergency management director will work collaboratively on a vaccine program and a vaccination site for these select groups, the statement read. This cannot proceed until an adequate number of vaccines has been received and clear direction given by the Department of Public Health and the State of Massachusetts.

Fleming said the town has submitted requests for more doses and is working with the Council on Aging to create a wait list for when they arrive. The hope is that they can begin with 60-70 doses a week the second or third week of February, and that this will increase afterward.

Baker’s announcement took us by surprise,” said Fleming. “What it’s done is seniors calling thinking they can get it next week and they’re calling us.”

North Attleborough is working with Plainville, since the latter lacks the infrastructure for a vaccine clinic. She said between the two towns, 2,300 doses of the vaccine is needed to vaccinate all those that meet the criteria for the second phase. Vaccinations will be on an appointment-only basis, to avoid seniors waiting outside in February.

They will get it, just not that soon,” said Fleming. “It’s just going to take some time.”