State expands role of UMass vaccination site

  • Stickers on hand at the Bangs Community Center in Amherst where first responders were receiving their first COVID-19 vaccinations on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 1/19/2021 5:20:49 PM

AMHERST — As Fenway Park in Boston joins Gillette Stadium in Foxborough as a mass vaccination site, the University of Massachusetts will expand its role in administering COVID-19 vaccines in western Massachusetts.

The Baker-Polito Administration announced Tuesday that the UMass site, at the Campus Center, will be providing vaccinations for all eligible groups in Phase 1 of the state’s vaccine distribution plan.

While the site has been only open to first responders since opening Jan. 11, congregate care and shelter staff, as well as clinical and non-clinical health care workers doing direct and COVID-facing care, and personnel from long-term care facilities, rest homes and assisted living facilities, can be served there.

These participants will need to have a letter from their organizations verifying they meet eligibility guidelines specified by the state. Appointments for the UMass vaccination site can be booked at https://www.umass.edu/coronavirus/vaccine.

UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said in a statement that the university and its Public Health Promotion Center, which runs the vaccination program, are demonstrating a commitment to public service.

“Our clinic is staffed through the invaluable assistance of the UMass College of Nursing, with our nursing students providing critical support while also gaining clinical experience to administer vaccinations,” Subbaswamy said.

Vaccine locations are also being expanded in each region of the state through pharmacies, health care providers and the second mass vaccination site at Fenway Park, where 500 vaccines per day will be given to eligible residents, ramping up to 1,000 per day until baseball season begins.

The COVID-19 CDC Pharmacy Partnership is providing a total of 10,000 doses to at least 15 CVS Health and Walgreens pharmacies a week for eligible residents in the Phase 1 priority groups. Among the 15 initial locations are Greenfield, Pittsfield, Lee and Gardner.

Massachusetts is among the first states to activate this retail pharmacy vaccination partnership. About 40 vaccination sites will be added next week with additional partners including Wegmans, Big Y, Price Chopper, Stop & Shop and Hannaford.

Finally, to increase vaccine access for Phase 1 eligible priority groups, the Baker-Polito Administration is launching the Hospital Depot Initiative to facilitate access to COVID-19 vaccine for independent physician practices prioritized in this phase.

For clinical practices that are unable to receive larger and direct allocations of vaccine, a depot hospital will receive doses on their behalf and redistribute vaccine and ancillary materials for office-based vaccination, according to the governor’s office. 

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.


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