Northampton COVID-19 vaccine clinics see surge in patients

Efforts are underway in Northampton to get the community their 2nd COVID-19 booster shots.
Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 5:58 PM EDT
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NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Efforts are underway in Northampton to get the community their 2nd COVID-19 booster shots.

During the month of April, public health officials are offering vaccination clinics throughout the city and Hampshire County.

Monday, close to 400 people received their shots.

Northampton residents rolled up their sleeves on Tuesday to get their 2nd COVID-19 booster shots, now recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for those 50 and older.

“Well, you never know what’s going to happen down the road,” said Northampton resident Barry Grimes. “I know everyone is prepared to have a nice spring, and I want to have a nice spring and summer.”

Northampton public health officials have ramped up efforts this month to get residents vaccinated.

“Those clinics are happening on a regular basis at the Elk’s Lodge in Florence and at Thornes Marketplace in addition to sites out at the Housing Market Authority and some sites out in Hampshire County in the more rural areas,” said Northampton public health nurse Kate Kelly.

Kelly told Western Mass News that on Monday, the Elks Lodge site saw the highest number of people getting vaccinated since the 2nd booster was approved for use in late March.

“We are now accepting walk-ins, and we saw 399 people in for their booster,” she said.

Kelly added that normally, the site sees between 100 to 200 people, so we asked what could have caused the spike.

“Our clinic was swamped with hundreds of people, which is great for the enthusiasm,” Kelly said. “We heard a local pharmacy chain had to cancel their appointments, so a lot of folks headed to us because they heard we were doing walk-ins. In addition, we understand there was an article in our local paper over the weekend publicizing the clinic, and maybe that drew a lot of attention, as well.”

The public health nurse told us that some people were turned away because they are not eligible for a 2nd booster just yet. According to federal health guidelines, those eligible to get the shot must wait 4 months after receiving their first.

“If folks are a few days or weeks early for their second dose, we won’t give it that day, but will help them make arrangements to come back or come to them with their second booster when they are due,” Kelly explained.

She said that while they always welcome walk-ins, they do recommend that people make appointments and sign up ahead of time online.

You can find more information on the Northampton COVID-19 clinic here.