Vaccines for general public expected in spring

More than 100 hospital staff receive second vaccine dose; COVID patient in serious condition sent off-Island by MedFlight.

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Patricia Seman, a Windemere physical therapy assistant, gets a vaccine shot Wednesday. First Responders are up next with a clinic set to begin Friday. — Courtesy Windemere Nursing & Reh

Updated 4:35 pm 

Plans for vaccinating the Martha’s Vineyard community are underway at the hospital, with an estimated rollout for the general public in the spring and throughout the summer.

Speaking to reporters during a conference call Wednesday, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital president and chief executive officer Denise Schepici said the hospital will be taking a leading role in administering the vaccine to the Island population. A team is being put together to work out logistics on administering the vaccine on the Island.

“We have learned so much through our testing for COVID-19, and we want to turn that information, enhanced by the support we receive from the Mass General Brigham system, to develop a smart and effective strategy to deliver the vaccine to the entire Island,” Schepici said.

The hospital is following guidance from the state and its parent company, Mass General Brigham. A graphic released by the state breaks the estimated vaccine rollout into three phases. The state is still in phase one, which includes healthcare workers, long-term-care facilities, first responders, congregate care settings, home-based healthcare workers, and healthcare workers doing non-COVID-facing care. Phase two is expected to begin later this month and go through April, and includes people with more than two comorbidities, early education, K-12, transit, grocery, sanitation, public health workers, food and agriculture, adults over 65, and then those with one comorbidity. Phase three, which includes the general public, is expected to begin sometime in April and go through June.

Vaccine rollout to the general public is expected to look similar to the flu clinic held in November, with cars staged at areas around the Island, then sent to a drive-through area to receive the shot.

Claire Seguin, chief nurse and chief operating officer, said vaccine rollout at the hospital is running “smoothly,” and that the hospital is moving into the next phase to vaccinate all staff at the hospital.

The hospital has also begun administering second doses of vaccines to staff. In total, the hospital has administered the first dose of vaccine to 308 staff members, and the second dose to 100 staff members.

Seguin added that every dose of vaccine is being used by the hospital, and there is a standby list of eligible people, should someone decide not to take the vaccine.

“We have more people who want the vaccine than we have available doses,” Seguin said. “We will continue to ensure all doses are put to use.”

Schepici is urging everyone who can get a vaccine to get it once the hospital can provide it.

All 26 staff and 40 residents of Windemere received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. The second dose will be delivered on Feb. 2. The vaccines were administered by a team from CVS through a federal program.

Schepici said no Windemere staff or residents have tested positive for COVID-19 since the hospital’s last press briefing on Dec. 30. Last month, the hospital confirmed, a total of five Windemere employees tested positive for COVID-19.

On Wednesday, 13 Island veterans traveled to Hyannis to the Veterans Administration clinic to receive the first of two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Murphy told The The Times the whole process took 20 minutes and was seamless. “It was very smooth,” Murphy said.
After getting the shot, the veterans were given information on the vaccine and were signed up to return to Hyannis on Feb. 10 for the second dose. 

Any other Island veterans over the age of 85 who are interested should contact the Veterans Administration clinic for more details. The clinic plans to then vaccinate veterans over the age of 75.

According to a fact sheet from the hospital, the Pfizer vaccine is approved for children over age 16. The Moderna vaccine is only approved for adults 18 years and older. The Pfizer vaccine is 95 percent effective seven days after the second dose. The Moderna vaccine is 94 percent effective 14 days after the second dose.

It’s not clear to health officials how long immunity will last after people are vaccinated. Health officials are also encouraging people who had COVID-19 to still get the vaccine.

The vaccine is also being provided to people at no cost, according to the hospital’s fact sheet.

There were 12 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 Wednesday — 11 from the hospital and one from a private practitioner. 

The hospital has conducted 11,183 tests for COVID-19 since March. Of those, 481 have tested positive, 10,612 negative, and 90 are pending results.

There are currently two patients hospitalized with COVID-19. One patient has been admitted to the hospital since Jan. 6, the other was admitted on Tuesday. Both admitted patients are in “fair condition,” according to Seguin.

On Tuesday the hospital sent a patient in “serious condition” off-Island by MedFlight. There have been four total COVID-19-related transfers since the pandemic began.

The patient admitted last week was a readmission. Seguin said that once a patient hits the 14-day mark post-infection, they are no longer contagious.

“Once they’re getting readmitted past that stage, it’s for residual effects on their own body,” Seguin said.

Schepici again stressed the importance of hand washing, social distancing, and wearing masks.

“We are in a surge because some just refuse to do what most of us are doing, making sacrifices to remain compliant and to stop this spread,” Schepici said. “I want to keep urging people: Do the right thing.”

Meanwhile, TestMV has conducted 29,954 tests since June. Of those, 199 have tested positive, 28,674 negative, and 1,081 are pending results.

The town of Aquinnah reported its first positive case from its own testing Friday. In total, the town has conducted 388 tests, of which one has come back positive, 375 negative, and 12 pending results.

Of the total 680 confirmed cases since March, 342 are female and 338 are male. Of those, 114 are younger than 20, 120 are in their 20s, 172 are in their 30s, 100 are in their 40s, 92 are in their 50s, 52 are in their 60s, and 28 are older than 70.

There was one new probable case Tuesday, totaling 45 probable cases that have been reported since March — 23 females and 22 males.

Individuals may be tested more than once to confirm illness or to be released from isolation. This can result in a discrepancy between the number of positive individuals and the number of positive tests reported.

Of those, 26 received positive antibody tests, and 19 have been symptomatically diagnosed. There are eight in their 60s, 11 in their 20s, six in their 50s, eight in their 40s, four younger than 20, three older than 70, and five in their 30s.

Test positivity rates are also on the rise on the Island. In the past two weeks, the positivity rate went from 4.1 percent to 9.2 percent.

Oak Bluffs has accounted for 27 cases over the past 14 days, according to the data. The town has a 6.08 percent positivity rate. Tisbury has seen 28 cases reported in the past 14 days, with a 3.77 percent positivity rate.

On Tuesday, the state reported 4,906 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, with a 7.45 percent positivity rate, and an estimated 90,975 active cases statewide. There were 67 new deaths, for a total of 12,996 COVID-19 deaths since March.

 

Updated to include current COVID numbers — Ed.

  • According to Governor Baker’s recent order people 75 and older were placed in the top priority group in the next phase of the state’s vaccination plan. The change was made in accordance with federal guidelines. They join people with at least two serious health conditions atop phase two, set to start in February.

    People 75 and older were not previously listed as their own group. People 65 and older were prioritized third in phase two.

  • Warp speed is more like snail mail …. This Enterprise needs more di-lithium crystals! Since the vaccine dole is being run by our Governor, we should all be hearing (since almost a month has passed since the vaccines started to be rolled out) or have heard about the proposed system for dispensing. It seems that certain pharmacies have the vaccines being “distributed” through them to certain “preferred” groups, but not seeming to have been allocated via the state’s adjustments to the CDC guidelines. We have no CVS here. Stop & Shop Pharmacy like the other independents here say they have no idea when vaccines will be made available to them to distribute, if at all. We hear about folks who thankfully have received the shots, but what of all of the non-veteran elderly or those at risk? Where is our County in trying to coordinate through the Emergency coordinator? It’s been no mystery that vaccines would be available in December. We should have had a transparent plan in place ready to go with volunteers sought and trained well before any handful of vaccines might come our way to MV. WHO IS IN CHARGE. HERE! Governor Baker was the head of Partner’s Healthcare, wasn’t he? PLEASE GOV!

    • This is the official policy of the state for older vaccine recipients: Massachusetts residents older than 75, and residents of all ages with two or more comorbid health conditions, have been moved up in the state’s COVID vaccine priority timeline and will be among the first groups to get the shots during Phase 2, state health officials said on Monday.

      Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said the change is based on revised Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for who is most at risk for serious complications from COVID-19 illness. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices made the revisions, which were made public shortly before Christmas.

      The Massachusetts COVID-19 Advisory Group met in late December to discuss if any changes to the state’s vaccine recommendations were necessary based on the federal changes.

      “The group came to a consensus on one single change to the current recommendations, taking in particular consideration ACIP’s highlighting of individuals aged 75 and older as being at particular risk of serious complications of COVID-19,” Sudders said.

  • No wonder the virus is spreading when people behave like those in your photo, standing less than six feet apart, and one with his mask below his nose!

  • It’s silly we are providing the vaccine to people in their 20’s and 30’s who have very low risk and making the elderly who comprise the majority of the deaths wait until Spring. Foolhardy.

  • As I go about my once weekly shopping at Cronigs, I asked the cashier if she had received the vaccine. She said, “We haven’t heard when we will get the vaccine.”

    If the cashier and other employees who enable us to buy food for our families aren’t front line workers, who is?

    Ann Charnley

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