With 689 Blackstone residents over the age of 75, the Board of Health expressed frustration on the fact that the town only received 100 doses for the first COVID-19 vaccine clinic they organized in February. When Governor Baker announced that the State of Massachusetts is no longer giving vaccines directly to towns, it has been a challenge trying to figure out how to best help our local seniors. Most seniors do not have access to emails or are computer savvy enough to book appointments online, and some don’t have access to transportation to bring themselves to Gillette Stadium. The Blackstone Board of Health has been working hard discussing local concerns with the state and has been working with 7 other nearby towns to ensure that Blackstone residents are able have accessible vaccination venues. Thankfully, this weekend was a good step towards bringing our local senior residents the much needed COVID-19 vaccine.
This Saturday, March 13, the Blackstone Board of Health and the Blackstone Senior Center had a successful vaccine clinic for residents in elderly housing and gave out 196 shots at the Frederick W. Hartnett Middle School. The State gave 190 shots for the two Blackstone housing complexes, an extra 6 shots went to town residents over 65+ starting from the oldest resident working their way down the list. The focus of this weekend’s vaccination clinics were to provide the first COVID-19 shot for homebound seniors and people living in senior housing in town: Foxbrook Manor and Early Village. Some of our seniors in town haven’t even been out for a year and it was certainly a relief for a lot of the seniors to have access to vaccines in the local community.
Photos taken from Blackstone Board of Health’s Facebook Page
This weekend wouldn’t have been possible without all of the folks in town that helped out. In the BOH meeting on March 9, Colleen Strapponi mentioned that the Board of Health is ready with its nurse volunteers, non-medical volunteers. They Board of Health contacted the Fire Chief in providing EMTs, the Police Chief has been informed of the event and will monitor the site if there’s any needs. Everyone came together to help out and organize the successful vaccination clinic last Saturday.
- The Council of Aging called all residents in elderly housing to book their appointments
- Hartnett Middle School janitors and staff kept the building clean and helped set up
- An EMT went around town to deliver shots to residents who are homebound, another EMT monitored residents on-site after a shot was given
- Senior Center vans were out picking up elderly that do not have transportation
- Nurse volunteers, non-medical volunteers are on-site helping organize the vaccine clinic
The Board of Health announced the success of this weekend’s event on Facebook, also mentioning and giving thanks to local businesses – Dunkin’ Donuts who provided coffee and donuts, Betty’s Donuts who made sandwiches for lunch for the volunteers.
With the goal of getting everyone vaccinated and Blackstone out of the red, the Blackstone Board of Health has really rallied for the town in over 12 months. It’s been a year since we’ve been on a lockdown and everyone must be tired – but the Blackstone Board of Health and Blackstone Senior Center tirelessly pushes on. By the end of the month, Blackstone residents will have access to a closer vaccination clinic in Uxbridge. The surrounding towns, including Blackstone, have gotten together and got approval to have a clinic in Uxbridge 4 days a week with 450 shots a day. Appointments are still necessary, more details will be provided soon.
If you want to volunteer to help in vaccine clinics and other Board of Health initiatives, please contact the Board of Health directly. We can always use more volunteers.