FALL RIVER (CBS) – Walsh Pharmacy in Fall River has plenty of vials of Johnson & Johnson and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on hand. But lately, there haven’t been a lot of takers. “There are days where we only do one, sometimes two. We’re wasting some nowadays,” said pharmacist Stephanie Mello.
Across the street, neighbor Doug Larribee lives a stone’s throw from the clinic, but said he has no plans to walk over for a vaccination. “I just don’t think it’s necessary,” he said.
Fewer than half of the residents in Fall River have had one COVID-19 vaccination shot, among the lowest in the state. Fall River Mayor Paul Coogan wants to change that. “It’s amazing to me that people don’t want to get the vaccine. But some people, through whatever the propaganda, the anti-vaccine people, they’ve bought into it, and it backs things up,” he said.
Fall River isn’t alone. Middleborough has the same vaccination rate at 48%. The rate is slightly higher in Wareham with 49%, while in New Bedford, only 44% have had one shot.
“I lost my brother-in-law and my sister,” said Goretti Furtado, who is among the thousands of Fall River residents who became sick with COVID-19 during the height of the pandemic. “I’m vaccinated, my family is. I think until you actually go through a very tough time, losing loved ones to COVID, you think of things, you educate yourself more.”
Mayor Coogan says the city is trying to be innovative. He spoke with the State Department of Public Health Wednesday about bringing down a vaccination bus where residents can easily step on and get a shot on the go. “Get the vaccine, get safe,” he said. “Get back to your families.”