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'Delighted': Elders Get Their First COVID-19 Vaccines — If They Can Get an Appointment

Hundreds of people lined up in their cars on Wednesday at the Cape Cod Fairgrounds in Falmouth to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

 

It was the first public clinic run by Barnstable County, open to anyone age 75 and up, as the state entered Phase 2 of its vaccination plan. Anyone from Phase 1 who still needed a vaccine was also eligible.

 

Public health nurses employed or contracted by the county gave out 600 doses of the life-saving vaccine.

 

Drivers entered the fairgrounds at the west gate, where, around noon, a man was giving humorous instructions about how to make it up the muddy hillside.

 

“Got a little adventure in driving today,” he would start as drivers approached.

 

At the top of the hill, vehicles were separated into three lanes and directed into a metal building.

 

Volunteers verified appointments, and then vehicles moved forward to the stations where nurses administered the Pfizer vaccine.

 

Lewis and Cynthia Skinner of Mashpee said the shot was the easy part.

 

“The shot itself is  — nothing to it at all,” he said.

 

“Yeah, the shot didn't — I mean, it was less than a flu shot, actually,” she said. “What the hard part was, was getting the appointment.”

They got theirs at maimmunizations.org.

Many people have expressed frustration at the difficulty of getting appointments, partly because so few vaccines are available, and partly because of the Internet-based signup system. The state has created two places to look for appointments — one at mass.gov/covid-19-vaccine, and one at maimmunizations.org.

 

  

Until recently, the county clinics at the fairgrounds and Cape Cod Melody Tent were not listed at mass.gov, but as of Thursday, they had been added to the map with a yellow star. Sites with a yellow star are only open to residents of certain cities and towns — in this case, Barnstable County.

But the residency requirement was not listed when Wednesday’s clinic went online, and many people receiving their vaccines were not from Cape Cod.

Caroline Tracy brought her parents from Plymouth.

 

“We lucked out and happened to be online at the right time,” she said.

 

“We’re delighted,” said her father. “I couldn’t have done it without my daughter. She's more computer literate than I am.”

Barnstable County sponsored another clinic with 375 doses on Thursday at the Cape Cod Melody Tent. The county is receiving 975 doses of the Pfizer vaccine each week, which it plans to divide among the Falmouth and Hyannis sites and additional sites to be announced on the Outer Cape.

Erika Woods, deputy director of the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment, said the county won’t post clinics online until officials are certain the vaccine will arrive in time.

 

  

The fairgrounds site was busy Wednesday. By 1 p.m., a few cars had backed up onto Route 151 as they tried to turn onto Currier Road to enter the fairgrounds. A man in a yellow vest was directing drivers to make room for them to get off the highway.

“It's going well,” Woods said. “A lot of people show up early, which really … backs up the waiting line. But other than that, it's going smoothly.”