The Marion Board of Health learned on March 2 that a shortage of COVID-19 vaccine in Massachusetts has resulted in the town having to cancel its March 5 vaccination clinic to administer a second dose to residents that received their first dose last month.
Marion was authorized back on January 30 to receive 100 doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to administer to Marion residents 75 and older and held a vaccination clinic to inoculate the town’s oldest citizens in descending order on February 5. A month later, the state says there isn’t enough vaccine at this time for Marion to complete the vaccination series, forcing Marion to cancel its clinic for Friday, March 5, and wait to hear when the next shipment of doses will be ready before rescheduling another.
“Oh, Lori, I’m so sorry,” BOH member Dot Brown told Public Nurse Lori Desmarais. “That’s terrible.”
Desmarais said the state still promises to deliver Marion its 100 doses for round two of vaccinations, but when that will be is unknown right now. When she receives word from the state saying when those next doses will arrive, she will contact those residents who were scheduled to attend the March 5 clinic and inform them of the new date. She anticipates that vaccine recipients would maintain their scheduled times, with the only change being the actual date of the vaccination clinic.
Desmarais was pleased, though, that she was able to administer the vaccination to homebound residents of Marion with the help of the Fire Department before the vaccine shortage.
BOH Chairman Dr. Edward Hoffer commented on the recent CDC emergency authorization for the Johnson & Johnson version of the vaccine, but commented that Massachusetts had only received a “very small shipment” of the anticipated “game changer,” as Hoffer put it, and won’t receive another shipment for another four weeks.
“At least in Massachusetts, it’s not much of a game charger, unfortunately,” said Hoffer.
Desmarais gave a COVID-19 case update for the board and reported that Marion currently has 11 active cases for a total of 385 since the beginning of the pandemic.
Sippican School has two positive cases currently in isolation, with two people in quarantine awaiting test results. There have been 31 confirmed cases linked to Sippican School so far. Old Rochester Regional Junior High has zero in isolation or quarantine, with 24 cases so far in the pandemic. ORR High School currently has three positive cases in isolation, two in quarantine, and a total of 77 cases.
Over at Tabor Academy, ongoing routine testing has not resulted in any positive cases so far.
Sippican Healthcare Center has gone 20 days without any new confirmed cases, and only some residents or staff are still waiting to receive their second vaccine dose for the state.
Health Agent David Flaherty said he has responded to four COVID-19 compliance complaints in Marion establishments over the past week, with none of them resulting in a temporary shutdown.
Flaherty is leaving his part-time health agent position in Marion to join Fairhaven as its full-time health agent, and Anna Wimmer was introduced during the board’s meeting as Flaherty’s replacement.
The Marion Board of Health meets again on Tuesday, March 16, at 4:30 pm.
Marion Board of Health
By Jean Perry