Mass sites are a lazy model for vaccine distribution
The wrong model for vaccine distribution is being employed in Massachusetts in its lazy emphasis on mass sites at Fenway Park and Gillette Stadium (“Big sites for shots raise hope questions,” Page A1, Feb. 21). In COVID-19 vaccine distribution, “big” doesn’t do it. It’s great for the low-cost contractor. It avoids some distribution costs and complexities for the Commonwealth. However, which institutions are located nearest to those most in need of vaccines? Hospitals, of course, and local pharmacies (not just the giants).
We watched the Band-Aid solution of having younger relatives or other companions become eligible for a shot if they brought the neediest residents to the big sites. That was a sign that the let-the-people-come-to-you model had flaws in dealing with our life-and-death COVID-19 crisis. A better model would be to reach the people where they live.
Let’s get the hospitals back in the center of our vaccine distribution, along with other local institutions, before it is too late.
Terry W. Rothermel
Town clinics are a resource that should not be cast aside
As a Medical Reserve Corps member and a volunteer in the Wayland COVID-19 vaccine clinic, I am concerned about Governor Baker’s decision not to provide town clinics with a vaccine supply and instead to give most doses to the mass vaccination sites.
As an infectious disease physician, I am concerned about reaching the vaccination target of at least 70 percent to provide for herd immunity. People are most comfortable seeking care and vaccination in their communities or with their personal physician. Pulling the vaccine supply out of town clinics will leave our communities susceptible to transmission and infection.
Why stop vaccine administration where it has been working? For people either working remotely or with children at home, the time commitment needed to get a shot at a mass vaccination site may be too great.
In our town, we can vaccinate people within 10 minutes of their arrival and, following a 15- to 30-minute observation period and a 10-minute drive, they are back home. Given travel and wait times, it can take hours to get vaccinated at a mass site.
As doses are provided to the mass vaccination sites, the state should continue to supply the local town clinics. It makes sense that we all work together to care for our communities and help bring the pandemic under control.
Dr. Michele Trucksis
They appreciated their experience at Gillette location
There has been much well-deserved criticism of the vaccine rollout in Massachusetts. In contrast, I would like to call attention to the excellent experience my husband and I had in receiving the vaccine.
After struggling to find a site close to home on Cape Cod, I was able to snag appointments at Gillette Stadium, in Foxborough. Fortunately, we are both mobile and have a reliable car, and the trip was easy. But the best part was the well-organized system and the professionalism of the volunteers and staff at the site.
The site was easy to find, and there was plenty of parking. A large electronic sign with messages for when to leave your car to enter the building prevented long lines outside. Everything went smoothly once inside, with virtually no waiting until the mandated post-vaccine observation period. We were able to socially distance throughout the visit.
Information for scheduling the return visit was provided, and I could book the appointments online before we left the building. We are looking forward to receiving our second dose of the vaccine at the same site.
State needs better understanding of older people’s needs
Having spent more than 20 years working in senior housing management and volunteering with my local Council on Aging, I have an understanding of older people’s needs and where they may require help. The decision to divert vaccines away from local settings and to large-scale vaccination sites is a poor idea. Consider the following:
Many seniors no longer drive or don’t drive on highways, so they cannot get to sites such as Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. Then there is the issue of parking and transportation. How would elderly residents get to Fenway Park? They are not taking the T now.
What’s more, many older people don’t drive after dark, so they cannot risk getting in the car to travel to a mass vaccination site if it means being out after sundown
Here is what would make more sense: Keep elders in the community where they live. They will be more comfortable going to local, familiar resources. Provide vaccine doses to town health departments and Councils on Aging. Provide funds for transport.
In addition, provide vaccines at places seniors routinely go and to people they trust, such as primary care practices, local pharmacies, and grocery stores. Bring the vaccine to homebound elders with home care nurses.
Let’s get the vaccine in arms quickly and efficiently.
Mara Klein Collins