Free neighborhood vaccine clinics start Monday

Westfield Police Chief Lawrence P. Valliere receives his first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in January 2021. Residents in Westfield will have three neighborhood opportunities to receive the vaccine in August. (PETER CURRIER PHOTO)

WESTFIELD – The first of three free COVID-19 vaccine clinics in Westfield is Aug. 2 from 9-11 a.m. in the Free Street parking lot between Samaritan Inn and TD Bank.

All three clinics are in neighborhood settings, with the second on Aug. 11 from 12-3 p.m. in the Elm Street parking lot in front of the PVTA building, and the third at the corner of Meadow and White streets from 4-5:30 p.m., also Aug. 11.

This program is the result of collaboration among the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Baystate Medical Center, the Westfield Food Pantry and Our Community Table – the Westfield Soup Kitchen.

Sandra Mackler, a soup kitchen volunteer, said the idea to bring the vaccine to neighborhoods stemmed from the “relatively low vaccination rate in Westfield.”

“We recognized that it was time to meet the people where they live,” she said. “We identified these locations to make it easy for people who live in those neighborhoods. We also hope to attract passers-by who may have considered getting the vaccine and may find it convenient to pull in and get the vaccine.”

No appointments or identification are required and proof of vaccination cards will be provided. People will be able to choose between the Johnson & Johnson one-dose and Pfizer two-dose vaccines.

“With COVID cases rising in our community and throughout the country, we know that the more people get vaccinated, the sooner we can beat this virus and resume our normal lives.,” Mackler said.

Baystate Medical Center personnel will be administering the vaccinations in its mobil vaccine unit and will distribute hand sanitizers and cleaning wipes donated by Ocean State Job Lot.

Debra Mulvenna, Westfield’s assistant health director, said she was “100 percent in support” of the effort.

“We have had a lot going on in the health department and I am happy that the soup kitchen, food pantry and Baystate Noble stepped up to do this,” Mulvenna said.

Mulvenna said bringing the vaccine to neighborhoods is a great way to get residents vaccinated.

“It’s important that everybody has access to the vaccine,” she said. “I’m very impressed with the groups that came together to do this.”


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