Barrington hosts its first vaccination clinic

Town manager’s request for more vaccine earns approval

By Josh Bickford
Posted 2/22/21

Barrington Town Manager Jim Cunha recently placed a request with the Rhode Island Department of Health, asking for an additional 50 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine per week.

Last Friday morning he …

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Barrington hosts its first vaccination clinic

Town manager’s request for more vaccine earns approval

Posted

Barrington Town Manager Jim Cunha recently placed a request with the Rhode Island Department of Health, asking for an additional 50 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine per week.

Last Friday morning he received the good news that the state would fill his request.

The additional doses push Barrington’s total weekly allotment to 160, although there are still between 800 and 1,000 residents who are 75 and older waiting to be vaccinated. Once the town finishes vaccinating the residents 75 and older, it will begin vaccinated those who are 65 and older.

Mr. Cunha said the town is equipped to administer even more vaccines to people, but has been limited by the number of doses distributed by the state.

“They (the state) said they’ve got 2,000 more doses available (per week),” Mr. Cunha said. “You should give the municipalities every dose they ask for. Don’t hamstring me by the number of doses… The frustration level (from municipalities) is palpable.”

The manager said the town’s first vaccination clinic — held last Wednesday at the senior center — was very successful. Organized by Barrington Fire Chief Gerald Bessette, Fire Captain Scott Carroll and Senior Center Director Michele Geremia, the clinic last for about five hours and administered vaccines to 110 of the town’s oldest residents.

“It went great,” Mr. Cunha said. “The mood was wonderful. They were in and out of there.”

Many of the residents who went to last Wednesday’s vaccine clinic were 90 and older, and were assisted by caretakers or family members. Once they received their vaccinations, the residents were escorted back to their vehicles where they waited for 15 minutes to make sure there were no immediate side effects. Mr. Cunha said that if they experienced any issues, they were instructed to hit the car horn.

“None of that happened. It went great,” he said.

Two volunteer doctors helped oversee the clinic, and a number of registered nurses administered the vaccines. Mr. Cunha said all Barrington firefighters are EMT-Cardiac certified and trained to administer the vaccines also, but were not required to do so at the first clinic because there were plenty of RNs.

Mr. Cunha said the fire department is prepared to conduct the “Med-Pods” where a high number of vaccinations can be administered during a short period of time.

“We train for this every year,” Mr. Cunha said.

On Monday morning, CVS and Walgreens and the state vaccination clinics began accepting registrations for residents 65 and older. It has also been reported that the federal government is doubling the doses going to CVS — CVS was receiving roughly 3,500 doses of Moderna vaccine per week. Going forward, in addition to those doses, CVS will be receiving an additional 3,500 doses of Pfizer per week.

By the end of this week, CVS is expected to be vaccinating people at 14 locations, and Walgreens should be vaccinating at 24 locations.

The state recently created a form to collect information about homebound residents who want to be vaccinated. That form can be found at http://bit.ly/homeboundvax and it can also be filled out by a healthcare provider or family caregiver of someone who is homebound.

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