The Martha’s Vineyard Hospital began vaccinating first responders this weekend. The Covid-19 clinics for police offers, firefighters, first responders, animal control officers began on Friday and continues through Tuesday.
“It’s going really well so far,” said hospital spokeswoman Marissa Lefebvre on Friday.
The hospital secured 275 doses of the vaccine and the Island’s various department chiefs coordinated with their staff members to receive the injections, Ms. Lefebvre said. A total of 270 had signed up for the vaccine as of Friday afternoon.
Edgartown police chief Bruce McNamee received his vaccination on Friday afternoon.
“The hospital really had it down, they really know what they’re doing,” Chief McNamee said. “My shoulder is a little more sore than I was expecting but no other side effects.”
Chief McNamee said 4/5 of his department has signed up to receive the vaccination, although it is not mandatory. Hospital officials said during a press briefing that they were thrilled with the turnout among first responders, and expected the number of public safety officials to get vaccinated to continue to climb.
“We are actually really pleased with the numbers,” hospital head of operations and chief nurse Claire Seguin said.
First responders are the third priority group in the state’s phased vaccination rollout plan. The hospital has already vaccinated approximately 300 of its front lines health care staff and approximately 100 have received the second dose of the vaccine. All of the Windemere nursing care facility was vaccinated on Tuesday through a federal program administered by CVS Pharmacy.
Vaccinations for congregate living facilities, including shelters and jails, are expected to begin next week. Availability for the general public is not expected until April.
Second doses for first responders are expected in early February, hospital staff said this week.
“I can’t thank the hospital enough for helping us out,” Chief McNamee said. “The only other public safety vaccination site I’m aware of is at Foxborough. The logistics of getting EMS, fire and police over there and back would’ve been a terrific hassle.”
West Tisbury police chief Matt Mincone is scheduled to be vaccinated later in the afternoon on Saturday. He said that four of his officers have already received the vaccine.
“The feedback to me is that it’s well organized, they’re in and out,” he said. “They get observed for 15 minutes and they’re on their way.”
Chief Mincone said that by Tuesday 11 members of his department will have received their first dose of the vaccine.
Aaron Wilson contributed reporting.