The Martha’s Vineyard Hospital announced that Island teachers and child care workers can sign up for vaccine appointments starting Monday, March 8, after Gov. Charlie Baker opened up vaccines to all state educators in a surprise move Wednesday morning.
In an email to the Gazette, hospital spokesman Marissa Lefebvre said all Island public and non-public school educators are eligible to sign up for vaccines starting Monday at 5 p.m. through the hospital’s online sign-up tool.
The news was welcomed by Island teachers, and added another layer to an increasingly confusing vaccine signup process at the hospital.
Appointments will be available starting Thursday, March 11, and continue through Friday and Saturday of the next week.
The hospital announcement came after Governor Baker said Wednesday morning that the state’s 400,000 kindergarten through 12th grade educators, preschool teachers and childcare workers could start receiving vaccines starting March 11. He also cautioned that the rollout would be gradual and dependent on the federal vaccine supply.
The governor was under pressure to open up vaccinations to teachers after announcing last week that he hoped to have all students back in classrooms starting April 1. The move was lauded by Island school administrators, who have been slowly bringing Island kids back into classrooms.
While most younger Vineyard public school students are in class at least four days per week, the regional high school is still on a hybrid model in which kids are in classrooms for about half the week. Island schools currently have two students in isolation due to a positive test, and 32 in quarantine as close contacts. Two high school staff are in quarantine as close contacts.
Ms. Lefebvre said the Monday at 5 p.m. signup was not confined to teachers, and that anyone who is eligible to receive a vaccine can participate, including residents 65 and older, as well as Islanders with two or more underlying health conditions.
The hospital had previously planned for weekly vaccine signups to open on Saturday mornings at 8, but those plans were scrapped last weekend when no vaccine was received from the state Friday evening due to supply chain issues. After a weekend of confusion, the hospital opened up vaccine signups on Monday morning, filling approximately 1,200 appointments in just over an hour.
Those appointments ran through March 10.
In her email Wednesday, Ms. Lefebvre explained the new vaccine signup schedule. The hospital will open the scheduling tool on its website on Mondays at 5 p.m. for appointments on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The Monday evening time will be in addition to Saturdays at 8 a.m., when appointments on Tuesday and Wednesday will become available.
Ms. Lefebvre said the hospital is working with school officials to organize a dedicated clinic for teachers beginning March 11. It was not clear whether the clinic is separate from the vaccine appointments.
“Details for that clinic are being worked out,” Ms. Lefebvre wrote.
It was also not immediately clear Wednesday evening whether the hospital would be opening appointments this Saturday, although Ms. Lefebvre had previously stated that the hospital did not expect to receive any additional vaccine before March 11.
Meanwhile, the hospital reported that three patients are currently hospitalized with the virus as of Wednesday at 3 p.m., even as case numbers continue to drop throughout the state and Island. Further information on patient condition or date of admission was not immediately available.
To sign up for a vaccine, go to the hospital website (mvhospital.org) and click on the yellow bar at the top of the page that says “schedule your Covid-19 vaccine appointment.” Then scroll down to a box that says “schedule my appointment.” The box links to the online scheduling tool.