Last Monday frontline healthcare workers at the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center breathed a collective sigh of relief as they became some of the first in the state to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
EBNHC medical staff received and administered the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine to its staff Monday morning shortly after it arrived at the Health Center. EBNHC’s infectious Disease Director and Adult Medicine Doctor, Dr. Jaime Gallegos-Salazar, MD, was the first of EBNHC staff to receive the vaccine as the Health Center’s management team looked on.
He held a sign reading “Take that, COVID” as he was vaccinated. “It felt good,” said Dr. Jaime Gallegos, EBNHC registered nurse Karina Mendoza, who was also one of the first at the Health Center to get vaccinated said, “It’s amazing, overwhelming. It’s been a long fight and now that we have the vaccine it’s a great feeling.”
EBNHC President and CEO Manny Lopes said EBNHC will continue to vaccinate its staff beginning with those in the front lines treating COVID-19 patients and other clinical staff most at risk and hope to proceed with other staff as they receive more vaccines. EBNHC is preparing for what it will take to vaccinate those most at risk in the community once the state enters into that phase of the vaccination plan and eventually all patients EBNHC serves. “This is a great moment,” said Lopes. “We have been waiting a long time for this. Our staff has been through a lot.
Our community has been through a lot,” This week the Baker-Polito Administration launched a COVID-19 vaccine dashboard to update the public on vaccine distribution and progress on a weekly basis. The dashboard will be posted every Thursday by 5 p.m. and will include information on vaccine supply distribution, administration and other data. The new dashboard can be found on the mass.gov/covidvaccine website. So far the state has vaccinated just over 35,000 during the first wave of vaccinations last week.
“This vaccination dashboard report builds on the state’s ongoing efforts to publicly report out data and will help track the state’s vaccination efforts for COVID-19,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. “Currently, the Commonwealth produces one of the most comprehensive public data reports on COVID-19 in the nation and includes detailed municipal-level data, information on contact tracing, COVID-19 clusters and more.” The state will roll out vaccines during a three phase approach that will take place between now and April.
The first phase, which was kicked off last week, includes clinical and non-clinical health care workers doing direct and COVID-facing care. Most health care workers and first responders will be vaccinated at their place of employment. Individuals living and working in long term care will be vaccinated as part of the Federal Pharmacy Partnership Program.
Phase II will be between February and March 2021 and will include individuals with two or more conditions with a high risk for COVID-19 complications; other workers including early education, K-12, transit, grocery, utility, food and agriculture, restaurant and cafe workers; employees across the food, beverages, agriculture, consumer goods, retail, and foodservice sectors; meatpackers; sanitation, public works and public health workers, vaccine development workers, food pantry workers, Uber/Lyft/rideshare services/pharmacy delivery drivers, workers in the passenger ground transportation industry; water and wastewater utility staff; and adults 65 and over. Starting in April the state anticipates the vaccine will be available to the general public once the higher risk groups in Phase I and II receive their vaccines