People Here In the Berkshires Are Frustrated With The Vaccine Roll-Out
So for over the past three weeks, I have been trying to get Myself and my hubby Scott in a local place to get our vaccinations. I know that a lot of folks here in the Berkshires are in the same boat. Thanks to the folks who called and shared the fact that I am in the same situation they are.
Both of us have health issues especially my husband who has Crohn's and stage three Kidney disease, I have respiratory issues and that made us a part of the phase two rollout of vaccines. I even have use pre-registered.
The closest place to us here in the Berkshires is Springfield and I Know that is one of the major sites through the state they are sending people. So I call to set us up to go to take the drive down and was told they could not guarantee that our vaccine times would be close or even the same day, and then the phone disconnects.
All that makes it a very frustrating and stressful time I am sure you know if you have tried to get in around here locally to get your vaccines. I go online every morning to see if there are appointments available here in the Berkshires...no such luck with that so far.
Most pressingly, first dose allocations have fallen in the Berkshires since the early weeks of Phase 2, according to local coordinators.
I spoke with BMC on their covid hotline and was told by the very nice lady that she was hearing this story a lot from locals here who are having the same problem.
I even took to calling all the pharmacies here in South, North, Central trying to find out if they have started to receive doses yet.
Berkshire County COVID hotline: 413-449-5575
Thursday when Berkshire Community College would normally have been bustling with vaccinators, the gym sat empty.
Leslie Drager, lead public health nurse with the Berkshire Public Health Alliance.
“They're pouring all the vaccine into the mass vaccination sites. They’re pouring money into them. They’re giving them easy access to register. And we’re not seeing that.”
The Berkshire Eagle is reporting that with only a handful of first doses to give out, Berkshire vaccine coordinators held just one clinic in Pittsfield this week. The site, which could administer more than 10,000 vaccines each week, has seen its inoculations slow to a trickle, as the commonwealth channels doses into mass vaccination sites concentrated in eastern Massachusetts.
Regional vaccine collaboratives in the Berkshires and around the state say the commonwealth is underutilizing them, despite their capacity to run high-output clinics, and leaving behind residents who live far from Pittsfield to Northampton to Milton, local officials are calling on the state to redirect more first doses to regional collaboratives, some of which have seen shipments drop in recent weeks.
Despite what they are having to deal with, the Berkshire Vaccine Collaborative continues to run efficient clinics at all three sites, with guaranteed second doses from the state.
But, the roadblocks facing regional collaboratives capture some of the challenges of the state’s rollout, as shifting delivery methods and priorities cause widespread confusion, frustration and even fear for residents awaiting their potentially life-saving shot.
On Thursday, state legislators who represent areas with regional collaboratives wrote to the state, asking leaders to prioritize supply for those collaboratives, which are typically cooperative efforts among medical providers and public health entities, like local boards of health. The entire Berkshire state delegation signed on to the letter.
State Sen. Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield said,
“With local boards of health and regional coordination, we created a meaningful process here, and then the state pulled away from that it feels like we’re becoming further disconnected from statewide strategy.”
Local vaccine officials say their efficiency is a testament to the success of the regional collaborative model, which took root in January when the county pitched it to the state.
LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions
While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.