Southwick nurse ready for vaccine clinic

SOUTHWICK – Although there are currently no plans for a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in town, several residents are ready to step-up when needed.

Terry Putnam, a doctorate prepared nurse, has administered more vaccines than she can recall in her four decades as a nurse. Currently, the Southwick resident works for a hospital accrediting agency. She also has experience in coordinating vaccine clinics, including the distribution of the H1N1 vaccine for women and children at UMass Memorial Hospital.

In all her years as a nurse working in many departments, including maternity, NICU, administration and leading the logistics of vaccine clinics, Putnam said COVID is different.

“I’ve never seen anything like COVID and the impact it’s has worldwide,” she said.

Putnam and her husband Jim have offered to volunteer their time and service in coordinating a vaccine clinic when the town is ready. Putnam said she reached out to Health Director Tammy Spencer and Spencer is “raring to go” when the town gets the go-ahead from the state.

“We are ready, we just need the vaccine,” Putnam said.

Putnam said she has a group of residents willing to volunteer to not only administer vaccines but to register and check-in residents, assist with paperwork – anything needed to get residents vaccinated.

“We have some large spaces, including in town hall and a few church halls — even parking lots – where we can have a clinic,” Putnam said.

Putnam said like many others, she is waiting to be vaccinated.

“I travel to hospitals for work and my company is remote, so we have to partner with local health departments to get vaccinated,” she said. “We’re COVID-facing.”

Putnam said one of the most difficult challenge to getting everyone vaccinated right now is communication.

“I have not found communication between facilities to be very good – we need open lines of communication,” she said.

If and when Southwick receives vaccines for residents, Putnam and her volunteers are ready to mobilize.

“We want the best for our community,” she said. “We want to make it easy for folks to stay well and do the right thing.”

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