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Hyannis Vaccination Clinic Flooded with Traffic; Registration Still Difficult

Wednesday’s COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Cape Cod Melody Tent was flooded with traffic and had to stay open two hours late to finish all the appointments.

Barnstable County health officials overestimated their ability to give more than 1,300 vaccines in the time allotted, according to Erika Woods, deputy director of health and environment.

“We did have some traffic delays and other issues that we will work on,” she said.

Some people arriving for vaccines said they’d called the 211 registration line and been told they had an appointment, but they weren’t on the registration list at the Melody Tent, Woods said.

She said others arrived up to 90 minutes early, which compounded the traffic problems, and still others showed up without an appointment, hoping the site would have extra doses.

“What we want to not do is give away vaccines for the people who are actually registered for the clinic,” she said. “We do understand that there are registration issues out there. We are struggling with those as well.”

Woods asked that those with an appointment arrive no earlier than 15 minutes in advance.

 

On Tuesday, when appointments went online, some users reported they couldn't see the listings for the Melody Tent or Little Creek parking area. Others saw the listings, but couldn't get an appointment.

Demand continues to exceed the supply of vaccine.

Woods said the county is working with local health agents and councils on aging to find a workaround that will make it easier to register.

Some local officials are more frustrated than ever about the state not opening a mass vaccination site on Cape Cod, especially after Gov. Charlie Baker announced two additional off-Cape sites this week in Dartmouth and Natick.

State Sen. Julian Cyr said the Cape’s older population and geographic isolation mean the region needs more doses of the vaccine, now.

“We're actually the third-oldest county in the country, alright? Not just in the state, in the country,” he said emphatically during a telephone call with reporters this week. “And so right now, in this phase of the vaccination, this is when we have the height of our need.”

Cyr said the Baker administration initially showed interest in setting up a mass vaccination site at Cape Cod Community College, but if that doesn’t happen, Barnstable County may hold clinics to the college.

 

“I just can't understand why the Baker-Polito administration has not been knocking on the doors of Cape Cod Healthcare, asking them to open and operate a mass vaccination site in Hyannis,” he said.

The newly announced Dartmouth site, at the former Circuit City near the Dartmouth Mall, is an hour’s drive from Hyannis. Compared to the Foxboro vaccination site, It shaves about 12 minutes off the drive from Cape Cod.

But Cyr pointed out that Dartmouth and Natick are closer to other vaccination sites than to some points on Cape Cod.