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Regional vaccination sites open Monday in Northampton, Amherst

  • Stickers on hand at the Bangs Community Center in Amherst where first responders were receiving their first COVID-19 vaccinations on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. STAFF FILE PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING



Staff Writer
Monday, March 01, 2021

Northampton and Amherst are collaborating on establishing a regional vaccination clinic that will distribute more than 5,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine each week starting Monday.

Northampton Mayor David J. Narkewicz announced Tuesday that the state’s Department of Public Health approved the regional collaborative, with Northampton as the lead community, to provide the vaccine to any eligible Massachusetts resident five days a week from two sites, as long as supplies are available.

The Northampton Senior Center at 67 Conz St. will hold clinics Tuesdays through Saturdays, distributing at least 840 vaccines each day. The satellite clinic will be at the Bangs Community Center in Amherst at 70 Boltwood Walk, operating four to five days a week and offering 250 vaccines daily.

“I’m incredibly proud that Northampton has met the requirements necessary to be selected as a regional collaborative for vaccine distribution,” Narkewciz said in a statement. “We are proud to have a strong partner in the town of Amherst to accomplish our mission as fast as possible.”

Amherst Town Manager Paul Bockelman also praised the partnership.

“We are confident that this joint effort will result in more people getting vaccinated, faster,” Bockelman said. “We have a longstanding relationship with Northampton in regional coordination on many fronts that ensures our residents receive excellent services.”

The Northampton Health Department, with support from the Amherst Health Department, submitted the application to the state’s public health department summarizing plans for a regional vaccination site.

The state’s approval came after there had been concern that because of the limited federal supply of vaccine, state-run mass vaccination sites, with the closest being located at the Eastfield Mall in Springfield, and retail pharmacies, would replace the smaller clinics Northampton and Amherst have been running.

Bockelman said both Amherst and Northampton scored highly with their ability to administer vaccinations achieving a delivery rate of in excess of 97%. That, Bockelman said, was well above the 85% rate that qualified communities for such regional collaboratives.

Narkewicz also thanked Northampton’s health and fire and rescue departments and the Senior Center for their teamwork, and commended Health Director Merridith O’Leary for her leadership. O’Leary called her job a critical role for residents in Hampshire County.

“We take our responsibility very seriously as we work to get everyone vaccinated and get all our lives back to normal,” O’Leary said.

Under the phased approach to vaccine distribution, those who can sign up for the clinics include any Massachusetts resident in Phase 1, such as first responders, health care workers and nursing home residents, and those in Phase 2, Groups 1 and 2, such as people 65 and over and anyone with two or more medical conditions.

To register online, go to Northampton’s website at www.northamptonma.gov/vaccineclinics or Amherst’s website at www.amherstcovid19.org/vaccine

Those without access to the Internet, or who need assistance with registration, should call 211.