Second dose clinics still a go in Amesbury and Rowley

Jim Sullivan, The Daily News of Newburyport, Mass.
·3 min read

Feb. 23—ROWLEY — A pair of follow up COVID-19 vaccination clinics, one at St. Mary's Church and the other in Amesbury, have been confirmed by local officials.

Amesbury, Georgetown, Groveland, Merrimac, Newbury, West Newbury, Newburyport, Rowley and Salisbury have joined together to create Merrimack Valley regional vaccine distribution group which has already hosted clinics for people 75 and first responders in West Newbury.

Local councils on aging have been responsible for getting the word out and scheduling vaccination appointments.

The Rowley Board of Health hosted a vaccination clinic for residents 75 and older at St Mary's Church on Feb. 4. Over 500 people in Amesbury and Salisbury also received their first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine during a clinic at the Holy Family Parish in Amesbury on Feb. 12.

But Gov. Charlie Baker announced last week that the state will now only give the vaccine to large-scale regional clinics capable of administering at least 750 doses per day, five days a week.

Baker's move prompted criticism from the Merrimack Valley regional vaccine distribution group which is currently unable to handle such a load. State Sens. Diana DiZoglio, D-Methuen and Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester and state Rep. Lenny Mirra, R-Georgetown also voiced their displeasure with the state's change of plan last week.

But the Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging sent an email to its members on Friday stating that anyone who received their first vaccination at a local municipal clinic will receive their second dose at the same clinic.

Rowley Council on Aging director Eleanor Davis said her town's follow-up vaccination clinic is still a go at St. Mary's on Thursday, Feb. 25 from 8 a.m. to noon.

"We got notification from the state that the vaccine is going to be here," Davis said. "People have already been notified of their individual, scheduled appointment. This clinic is only for the second shot of the vaccine. Everyone else who was looking for first shots will need to go through the state system. That is what the state is asking and that is what we are telling people to do."

Patients in Amesbury were also given a booster shot appointment for Friday, March 5.

Salisbury Health Director Jack Morris confirmed on Monday that the state has committed to sending the second doses to each clinic which has already been administered first doses.

"If, for some reason, we don't get the approval from the state, we will have to reschedule the clinic," Morris said. "But I don't anticipate that happening."

He said the regional vaccination group is still waiting to hear this week if the state will be delivering any further vaccines.

According to Morris, the Merrimack Valley regional vaccination group recently requested an additional 3,800 new doses of the vaccine from the state to run new clinics in the area.

"We won't know until Friday whether or not they are going to send it," he said.

The closest large-scale vaccination site remains at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Boston North Shore in Danvers, while the Amesbury Super Stop & Shop pharmacy is also taking appointments for the vaccine, pending availability.

The state is also adding mass vaccination sites in Dartmouth and at the Natick Mall this week.

Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at jsullivan@newburyportnews.com or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.