SOMERVILLE (CBS) – The much-anticipated roll-out of a COVID-19 vaccine has Massachusetts cities and towns already preparing drive-through clinics.
“Drive-up, walk-up, bike-up venues like we did for the flu vaccination,” said Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone. “We’ll look at mobile operations to bring to areas of the city that have been hit particularly hardest.” He said his city needs volunteers to help dole out doses. “It’s going be all hands on deck.”
Salisbury also put out that call, eyeing the State Reservation as a regional distribution site for its residents and six surrounding communities. “We’ll need people with medical background, clerical background, set up, food, law enforcement,” said Salisbury Public Health Director Jack Morris.
While Acme Dry Ice in Cambridge is ready to package the vaccine in subzero temperatures for shipping, the town of Whitman plans to turn its middle school parking lot into a clinic, also putting out a call for volunteers.
“It’s about 300,000 doses of vaccine that should be available in Massachusetts,” said Mass. General Hospital Dr. Paul Biddinger, who chairs the governor’s Vaccine Advisory Group. He said more doses will follow as they’re approved and manufactured.
“Somewhere, maybe by December 15, we should start getting the vaccine here in Massachusetts. It might take a day or two to thaw, but we should be able to start administering almost right away.”
He said it’s the most complicated vaccine distribution effort he’s ever been associated with.
The first batch goes to healthcare workers and the elderly in long-term care facilities, with the goal of hitting the general population by spring through private doctors’ offices, public clinics and commercial pharmacies.