A brief Board of Health agenda for the meeting held on Tuesday, Feb. 16 focused largely on an update about weekly town vaccination clinics which were offered for the first time on Feb. 10. The second clinic was held on Wednesday, Feb. 17, but Health Department Director Heidi Porter announced that she has been notified by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health that Bedford will not be provided further vaccine for the foreseeable future. Residents who have already received their first doses through the town clinic will be able to return for their second doses as planned.
Porter pointed out that Bedford’s state legislators are working on the town’s behalf but her understanding is that vaccine is being diverted to the so-called mega-sites such as Gillette Stadium and other large venues.
Porter reported that the first vaccine clinic went reasonably well. It became quickly evident that creating a waiting list would help smooth the process out and ensure that all 100 slots were assigned. Some seniors who reserved a spot at the town clinic ended up getting vaccinated elsewhere which created unexpected openings. The process for today’s second clinic was more efficient.
Click each image from the February 17 Health Department Vaccine Clinic in the gallery below to see it at full size
Porter noted that the cooperation of numerous town departments, including Facilities, the Police Department, the Department of Public Works, and others was critical to the success of the clinic. She added that the Department of Health worked with the Council on Aging to support ride services for seniors needing transportation to the clinic.
A Public Service Announcement is anticipated for this week warning residents to be vigilant about possible scams regarding appointments and fees for the vaccine itself. She said that the “mixed messaging” about the possibility of an escort for a senior to a clinic also getting vaccinated has been confusing for many. As currently set up those possibilities are limited to seniors using a mega-site only. The effectiveness of such an incentive program is being debated at the state level.
Porter reported that the town is prepared to do its part should vaccine become available, including doing so on a larger scale if needed.
The Board of Health scheduled its next meeting for March 1 at 7 p.m. A link will be available from the town website.