WEST NEWBURY — Amesbury Fire Chief Ken Berkenbush and West Newbury Health Agent Paul Sevigny, on behalf the nine-community Lower Merrimack Valley Regional Collaborative, report on another successful COVID-19 vaccine clinic held this weekend, and the organizers and their municipal government leaders are extremely proud to announce that the clinic will continue, with approximately 3,000 more doses allocated to this local, volunteer-driven effort.
The most recent session, a “second dose clinic” held Saturday, March 6 at the Dr. John C. Page School in West Newbury, saw 346 people receive a Moderna vaccine in less than four hours. Those vaccinated were a mixture of 75+ residents of the nine communities and some remaining first responders who had yet to receive their second dose.
The successful session comes on the heels of Governor Charlie Baker’s recent announcement that the Lower Merrimack Valley Regional Collaborative Vaccine Clinic will be allowed to continue in an expanded role. Approximately 3,000 new doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccines have been allocated to the clinic, with plans to run full-day weekend clinics through March.
The expanded clinic sessions are scheduled to be held at Amesbury High School moving forward, with additional sites being utilized in the region as needed.
“We are extraordinarily grateful to Governor Baker and the Department of Public Health for recognizing and rewarding a true example of both municipal government efficiency and the spirit of volunteerism,” Chief Berkenbush said.
“Our communities have proven that we can run efficient and successful vaccine clinics here, said Amesbury Mayor Kassandra Gove. “I’m grateful that the State has recognized our efforts and will continue to provide the vaccine to us. Amesbury has been working with many of these communities closely since the start of the pandemic, and it feels right that we should be able to continue our collaboration and be able to provide the vaccine to our residents directly.”
Saturday’s clinic finished the group’s first round of vaccine doses on an extraordinarily efficient note: With 32 vials and 320 expected doses, clinic officials drew 346 doses and did not waste a single syringe.
In six clinic sessions during the past eight weeks, the Lower Merrimack Valley Vaccine Clinic has wasted zero doses and boasts 103 percent usage rate of the allocated doses, thanks in no small part to the pharmacy team from Beverly Hospital, whose skills resulted made this utilization level possible.
“We are so pleased to be designated as a regional site to provide vaccines in the Merrimack Valley to provide greater access to residents in this area of the state,” said Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday. “Our community collaborative has worked very well in vaccinating our First Responders and we look forward to receiving increased doses to continue this effort. I would like to thank Amesbury for taking the lead role and the many staff and volunteers that are helping to ensure a successful rollout of this regional clinic.”
“This regional collaboration draws from local capacity built over many years,” said West Newbury Town Manager Angus Jennings. “In supporting these clinics as a continuing contributor to the overall vaccination effort in Massachusetts, Governor Baker has recognized the capabilities of our cities and towns as among the great strengths of our Commonwealth.”
Additional details about the expanded clinic sessions will be announced in the coming days.
The Lower Merrimack Valley Regional Collaborative comprises Amesbury, Georgetown, Groveland, Merrimac, Newbury, Newburyport, Rowley, Salisbury, and West Newbury and will also offer open appointments on the state’s vaccination website.
As always, seniors in the nine communities should contact their local council on aging for appointment assistance.
JGPR is providing communications services to this effort on a pro bono basis.