Demand high, supply low for COVID-19 vaccines

Hospital sets up a step-by-step guide for eligible individuals to sign up for a vaccine appointments.

16
Martha's Vineyard Hosptial CEO Denise Schepici and COO Claire Seguin answered questions Wednesday about the next phase of vaccine distribution.

Updated @ 5 pm

Martha’s Vineyard Hospital estimates there are 5,000 Martha’s Vineyard residents eligible to receive a vaccine in phase two of the state’s vaccine rollout plan, but as of this week the hospital is only getting 370 doses — enough for less than 8 percent of the total eligible individuals.

“Needless to say, we have more demand than we have supply,” chief nurse and chief operating officer Claire Seguin said in a conference call with reporters Wednesday morning. “It’s pretty much all state-determined.”

Priority is based on medical condition and risk of getting sick from COVID-19. Both hospital patients and non-hospital patients eligible for phase two are pooled together, reviewed, and will get a vaccine based on their medical risk. It’s not clear when or how many vaccines will arrive for Islanders eligible in phase two.

“We wish we could do all 5,000 as quickly as possible, but like [Seguin] said, we’re limited by the amount of vaccines we’re getting,” hospital president and CEO Denise Schepici said.

Vaccine supplies all hinge on the state, which doles out doses. The hospital tells the state how many vaccines they expect to need and then the state gives them an allotment based on a percentage of the total — which is the case across the state, according to Seguin.

The issue of vaccine availability runs up the ladder. On Monday, Gov. Charlie Baker said the success of the state’s vaccine rollout depends on the doses supplied by the federal government.

With only 370 vaccines for the beginning of phase two, Schepici said, individuals 75 years and older who are healthy are not likely to get a vaccine as soon as next week. As they wait for more vaccine supply, the hospital is prepared to administer 500 vaccine shots a day at its clinic one it receives enough vaccines.

Despite the low number of available vaccines, the hospital is encouraging everyone who is eligible for a vaccine to sign up to get one.

“I wish I had a timeline, but I just don’t,” Schepici said. “I know everybody wants this as soon as possible, but that’s why we’re urging people to check the website. We’re trying to make the instructions as simple as possible.”

Eligible individuals on the Island can sign up for a vaccine one of two ways. Hospital patients will be contacted via Patient Gateway when they become eligible for a vaccine. Patients will be able to schedule an appointment. If patients do not use Patient Gateway, they will receive a call from the hospital’s parent company, Mass General Brigham, confirming eligibility and scheduling a vaccine appointment.

Non-hospital patients should monitor the state’s COVID-19 vaccine website to learn when they are eligible. Once eligible, individuals can fill out and submit a COVID-19 vaccine attestation form. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health will then email eligible individuals, who should forward that confirmation by email to mvhinnovations@partners.org

The hospital has already vaccinated 20 patients at its clinic, using information through Patient Gateway. Those patients had recent organ transplants or are dialysis patients. Seguin said they will be sending information and directions, if patients are eligible, on how to sign up for a vaccine.

The hospital is urging people to follow these steps, and at this time is not providing a call number. Seguin also called on the community to assist family members or neighbors who are not computer-literate. The hospital is working on creating directions for vaccine sign-up in Portuguese.

Patients and non-hospital patients who meet the eligibility requirements will be notified by phone, through Patient Gateway, or through contact on the attestation form. A vaccine clinic for eligible individuals who make an appointment will be held on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday of next week.

Patients will be automatically booked for their second dose the day they receive their first vaccine. Pfizer vaccines require a 21-day period in between doses, and Moderna requires 28 days.

“I urge everybody to still be vigilant, wear a mask, until a good percentage of the community has been inoculated,” Schepici said. “I continue to urge everyone to act on the side of caution to keep everyone safe.”

As of Wednesday, the hospital has vaccinated 432 staff members. Of those, 207 have received their second dose. The hospital has vaccinated 298 first responders, and plans to vaccinate 100 additional community providers, such as physicians, nurses, and dentists, on Wednesday. Seguin said almost all eligible hospital employees and first responders have received a vaccine, and that the hospital has moved through phase one of vaccine rollout.

“The only overlap we’ll have is the second doses with patients. I think we are well-positioned to have phase one, dose one, finished by the end of this week,” Seguin said.

Following people 75 and older, in order of eligibility, phase two will include people 65 and older, people with two or more comorbidities, listed as increased risk for severe illness, other workers in early education, K-12, transit, grocery, utility, food and agriculture, restaurant and cafe, funeral services, and shipping port and terminal workers. Individuals with one comorbid condition will close out phase two. Phase three is expected to begin in April, and will include the general public.

The Island boards of health reported 12 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday — seven from the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and five from TestMV.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the hospital has conducted 12,102 tests for COVID-19 since March. Of those, 562 have tested positive, 11,539 negative, and one is pending results.

There are currently two patients hospitalized with COVID-19. They are both in fair condition.

On Jan. 12, 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.

As of Wednesday, TestMV has conducted 31,299 tests since June. Of those, 239 have tested positive, 30,072 negative, and 988 are pending results.

One probable positive case was reclassified as a confirmed positive, for a total of 49 since March.

The town of Aquinnah has conducted 405 tests, of which one has come back positive, 380 negative and 24 pending results.

The Martha’s Vineyard public schools have tested 2,000 individuals. As of Jan. 25, there have been three positive cases. The public school data are updated once a week

The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) reported a new case Tuesday, for a total of five positive cases of COVID-19.

Due to how tests are conducted, there can be a discrepancy between the number of positive individuals and the number of positive tests reported.

In an expanded report Friday, the Martha’s Vineyard boards of health reported that there were 62 active cases of COVID-19 on the Island. Two active cases tested positive between Jan. 3 and Jan. 9; the rest tested positive between Jan. 17 and Jan. 22.

Of the positive cases, 310, or 40 percent, are connected to at least one other case. Most connections are within family/household groups, according to the boards of health. There have been 47 instances of two-person groups testing positive for COVID-19. 

Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, and Tisbury are all in the “red” or highest-risk category, according to the state Department of Public Health.

According to state data, there have been 59 positive cases of COVID-19 in Edgartown in the past two weeks, and the town’s positivity rate is 8.28 percent. Oak Bluffs reported 34 cases in the past two weeks, and has a 6.69 percent positivity rate. Tisbury reported 49 cases in the past two weeks, with a 5.66 percent positivity rate.

According to Tisbury health agent and boards of health spokesperson Maura Valley, getting an immediate repeat test is not recommended, but she said it can be done at the discretion of a healthcare provider. Per Massachusetts Department of Public Health guidelines, if an individual tests positive for COVID-19, they should quarantine and take precautions.

Since March, there have been 810 cases of COVID-19 reported on Martha’s Vineyard. Of those, 410 are female and 400 are male, with the majority of the cases being in individuals under the age of 40. Only 33 cases have been reported in individuals over 70 years old.

The vast majority of those cases were reported in the past two months, when the Island’s first cluster of cases was linked to a wedding in October. Since then, the Island has seen 714 cases of COVID-19 — several times the 89 cases reported on the Island between when testing began in March and Oct. 25.

In addition to the wedding cluster, which reported eight cases, clusters at Cronig’s Market, with 19 cases, and a Bible study group, with 11 cases, have also been reported.

On the state level Tuesday, there were 2,215 new confirmed cases of COVID-19. The state’s seven-day average of percent positivity has dropped to 4.77 percent — a steep decline from 8 percent high in early January. There are an estimated 85,395 active cases statewide. There were 41 new deaths, for a total of 13,930 COVID-19 deaths since March.

Updated with Wednesday’s COVID-19 numbers.

16 COMMENTS

  1. I really appreciate having all this information presented here. Thank you! I don’t understand a couple of things — and maybe other people wonder the same thing.
    1. What do you mean by a “hospital patient?” Do you mean someone currently in the hospital, or someone whose information is on file at the hospital because you’ve had blood work or other test done there, or a even a minor procedure?
    2. What does it mean that we are in the “red” in Edgartown, Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven? How is that calculated and what are the consequences of being red? What changes if we get out of the red and into the yellow or green? Also, I really don’t understand the percentages — how they’re calculated and what they mean. Can you help?
    3. Is there a system in place to help connect to people who don’t use the internet? And therefore, a way for people to help get those people into the lineup for a vaccine?
    Thank you in advance.

      • I still don’t know the meaning of “hospital patient”. Does it mean a person currently admitted to and in a hospital bed? Or, does it mean you see a doctor who has an office at the hospital? Or, you’ve had a test, etc. at the hospital?

        • Hi Pam.
          I believe that hospital patient means someone who is in the “MGH/Brigham/MVH Patient Gateway system”- For instance, my doctor is not at the hospital, but I get labs there, so I am in the patient gateway system. I understand this to mean that when I am eligible, I will be contacted via the Patient Gateway system.

          • I agree with the reply by Jamie Kag. That’s how my sign-up went with Gateway. I’d compare it in difficulty to settng up an online banking account, not too bad, and I expect to get an email from Gateway when they are ready.

  2. Managed to sign up with the state, sent proof of such to the hospital. Have heard nothing, no confirmation of receipt, nothing. It’s like throwing a stone into a crater. Zero management of expectations.

  3. I hope Ms Schepici and Ms Sequin appeal to the governor regarding the number of folks needing the vaccine and the extreme shortage. This is unacceptable.

  4. Yesterday morning I filled out my Attestation form and sent it in They responded back with a email in less then an hour. I immediately emailed that response to MVH Innovations partners. Within an hour, I received back a confirmation that said “a member of our scheduling team will reach out to you shortly”. It then provided me a link to use “Patient Gateway” which I did and then said I would receive a call from Mass. General. All of the above was done rather easily for someone who does not consider himself overly computer literate.

    I am guessing that now, all I have to do is 1. “wait for a member of the scheduling team to “reach out to me shortly” ? How many days is shortly?? 2. Constantly monitor “Patient Gateway” site for information? or will I get an email which I check routinely once a day? 3. If one does not register under the “Patient Gateway” how will schedulers know of any pre existing conditions that would move them up in priority for the vaccine?

    I believe everyone administering the “system” are good people and are trying their best, but somehow still feel I am in limbo and do not know if or when I will get the shot, or what the rationale is for those ( over 75) selected to get the shot.

  5. Why do we use the word ”eligible”? Do we mean those eligible to get it from the hospital? I thought everyone is eligible. Dont we want everyone to get a vaccine. In early days we heard the mantra that anyone and everyone can contract Covid but now it seems we are awakening to the fact that most people wont get it and if they do they will be fine. The word ”eligible’ connotes deselection. Please explain.

    • The simple answer, Andrew, is that you are twisting the sentiments of nearly every rational person in this country, and trolling for some response. I will always be happy to oblige.
      In the “early days”, if you recall, we heard the mantra that “it’s just like the flu”, that it will “miraculously go away” and that the United States will “not even come close to 1,000 deaths”.
      And just for the record, the scientific community has from the beginning told us that this has about a 2% mortality rate. (it is actually about 3 % )
      There is no need for anyone who was remotely paying attention to the science to “awaken” to the fact that 97 or 98% will survive– slightly less are “fine”. Those that denied it was a problem from the beginning seem to be the ones that are “awakening” to the seriousness of it.
      Since you have told us on this forum that you already got your shot,I feel free to point out that it is actually you who may be the one who is “awakening”– finally.
      Is that a satisfactory explanation of your “question” ?

  6. I saw this report by `U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton`, and he is totally correct when he urges Veterans to consider bypassing the state coronavirus vaccination rollout and enroll in the Veterans Affairs health care system in hopes of getting the vaccine as soon as possible.

    As long as any Veteran is already enrolled in the VA system they can get their vaccine shots almost forthwith “By Appointment ONLY”!
    Many of us island Veterans have gotten our 1st vaccine shots and we already have appointments to get the second one.
    They have a drive thu in Hyannis and it takes less that 20 minuets tops. It is the most organized, professional and courteous experience I have had with my many decades dealing with the VA!

    https://patch.com/massachusetts/peabody/rep-moulton-urges-older-veterans-skip-state-vaccine

  7. Only one person said it was going to be easy did, but he is no longer president. I appreciate that no vaccinations have been wasted here. I don’t quite understand how it would be possible for administrators to let some shots go bad, but I have heard of a number of cases. The most disturbing one of a pharmacist who deliberately left 500 doses thaw because he wanted to save people from having their DNA changed.

  8. George, Why was my post taken down after it was posted? ~Woody~

    Woody Williams
    January 29, 2021
    PS…. “COVID-19 vaccines at VA”

    https://www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine/

    ***********************************************************
    Woody Williams

    January 28, 2021
    I saw this report by `U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton`, and he is totally correct when he urges Veterans to consider bypassing the state coronavirus vaccination rollout and enroll in the Veterans Affairs health care system in hopes of getting the vaccine as soon as possible.

    As long as any Veteran is already enrolled in the VA system they can get their vaccine shots almost forthwith “By Appointment ONLY”!
    Many of us island Veterans have gotten our 1st vaccine shots and we already have appointments to get the second one.
    They have a drive thu in Hyannis and it takes less that 20 minuets tops. It is the most organized, professional and courteous experience I have had with my many decades dealing with the VA!

    https://patch.com/massachusetts/peabody/rep-moulton-urges-older-veterans-skip-state-vaccine

    Share

Comments are closed.