By Max Bowenfirstname.lastname@example.org
Following two clinics run by jointly by North Attleborough’s senior center, Board of Health, and fire department, more than 300 senior citizens have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccination.
The second clinic, held on March 17, allowed seniors age 75 and older to get their second dose of the vaccine, which requires two injections. The first was held in February. In addition to these clinics, Fire Chief Chris Coleman said firefighters would be visiting seven homebound seniors to administer their vaccinations. In the future, he hopes to work with the Housing Authority to make similar visits to Elm Terrace, Circle Court, and other locations.
“We’re working with the Housing Authority to get this all squared away,” said Coleman at the clinic, held at North Attleborough High School.
The clinic mirrored the first in efficiency and management. Those entering were asked if they had any symptoms of COVID-19, and once cleared, spoke with NAFD or senior center staff for their patient information before getting their dose. Dorothy Marchand said it’s been a tough year, especially since she can’t visit her grandchildren once a week like she used to.
“That’s the hardest,” she said.
Skip Catalano, who got his second dose that day, said that he’s been unable to do much of what he enjoys, such as playing a round of golf or seeing his friends at the Elks Lodge.
“It’ll be great when everything goes back to normal,” he said.
Lucy Paulo said that just because she’s gotten her second dose, doesn’t mean that it’s time to relax. With reports of the variant strains of COVID on the rise, she said people still need to be careful, even if they’ve been vaccinated.
“You can’t let your guard down,” she said.
Paulo is a member of First Baptist Church and said that services have been much different over the past year. The church, like all others, had to close to in-person services last March and re-opened in the summer with outdoor services. Since the fall, they’ve moved services indoors—though every other pew is roped off, masks are required, and singing isn’t permitted.
“We miss the singing, we really do,” she said.
It’s no question that these clinics have been successful. However, it may be the last one that the town holds, as doses are being sent to mass vaccination sites such as Gillette Stadium. It was announced back in February that doses would only be sent to those communities most impacted by the pandemic, and people were encouraged to visit the mass vaccination sites. While Health Director Anne Marie Fleming can understand why the decision was made—mostly due to a limited number of doses—she said the news has been a disappointment.
“Part of the problem is that people are saying different things,” she said when asked about this.
State Rep. Adam Scanlon and 40 fellow State House legislators sent a letter to Gov. Charlie Baker asking him to reconsider the decision. Fleming said that she was on a conference call with State Sen. Becca Rausch to discuss holding a regional clinic in North Attleborough.
“Our hope is that one of these locations will be running by the summer,” she said.
For the time being, local health boards will continue to provide information and support. They’ll assist with getting people signed up for their vaccinations and track new cases of the virus.
“This is what people need,” said Fleming.