COVID-19 Vaccination Begins in Marion

            Marion’s dissemination of the COVID-19 vaccine will be a little bit like the evacuation of a boat taking on water; the key is not to let it turn into Black Friday at the mall.

            After being approved by the state to administer the Moderna vaccine to residents of Marion, Mattapoisett, Rochester, and Wareham, the town is starting this week with a by-invitation-only clinic for first responders from the four towns.

            Late in 2020, Marion Public Health Nurse Lori Desmarais organized a flu clinic that the town used as a rehearsal tool, all the while envisioning the scenario that commences this week with the vaccination of first responders.

            “We’re really proud to be at the frontlines of vaccinating our first responders this week in Marion. As soon as the opportunity to apply to be a regional distribution site became available, we jumped right in,” said Marion Town Administrator Jay McGrail. “We have a great leadership team in our public health nurse (Desmarais), our police chief (Richard Nighelli), and fire chief (Brian Jackvony).”

            The Town of Marion has issued a press release detailing its plans to help Massachusetts carry out its three-phased approach. The first responders clinic this week is considered Phase 1.

            Residents have been asked not to call the Marion Board of Health at this time to inquire about vaccine availability. The town and the Board of Health will provide more information on the availability of the vaccine to the general public as it becomes available.

            Marion laid out an “Anticipated Vaccine Distribution Timeline” beginning with Phase 1, which will carry into February and include: Clinical and non-clinical health care workers doing direct and COVID-facing care; long-term-care facilities, rest homes and assisted living facilities; emergency medical services, police, and fire; congregate-care settings; home-based health care workers; and health care workers doing non-COVID-facing care.

            Phase 2, which will begin in February and carry into April, will include: individuals with two or more co-morbid conditions and/or age 75 and over (high risk for COVID-19 complications); other workers including but not limited to early education and K-12 workers, transit, grocery, utility, food/agriculture workers, sanitation, public works, and public health workers; adults age 65 and over; and individuals with one co-morbid condition.

            Phase 3, which is projected to begin in April, will make the vaccine available to the general public. Some long-term-care facilities in Marion have started vaccinating residents, according to the press release.

            “We’re hoping to build on it to be able to vaccinate the next phases,” said McGrail of this week’s start. “This is the first step in moving on from this horrible year.”

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