Mayor Calls for Expanded Haverhill Public Health Department in TV/Radio Call-In Show

File photograph. (Image licensed by Ingram Image.)

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini says he is hopeful the city will be able to set up a true Public Health Department when the federal government releases more COVID-19 relief funds.

The mayor made that announcement last night, on the Point of Reference program with Frank Novak, which aired here on WHAV. While the mayor praised the work done over the past year by Public Health Nurse Mary Connolly, he admitted a city as large as Haverhill needs more than one person to handle the workload.

“I’d like to establish a full-fledged Public Health Department where we can do more immunization clinics, where we can go out into the neighborhoods and do blood pressure checks. Blood pressure checks save people’s lives; where we can do health education, tell people about safe eating habits, safe nutrition, exercise programs. We’ll see if we can find the money to do it,” the mayor said.

In addition, Fiorentini said the department could help greatly with the issue of drug use in the city.

The mayor also spent a good bit of the program urging people to get the coronavirus vaccine, noting it is now available to all adults. He said, in addition to CVS and Walgreens, which have contracted with the federal government to provide vaccines, the city is offering the Moderna vaccine at the Citizen’s Center on a nearly daily basis, including today.

“We have one going three or four days a week. We have plenty of openings, so sign up with us. We have openings Thursday. Just stop by between 10 and 2 and we will vaccinate you,” he said.

The mayor said for folks unable to get to a vaccination site during the work week, there will be a clinic this Saturday at the Calvary Baptist Church on Ashland Street between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. People can just stop by.

On the topic of mask wearing, Fiorentini said he disagrees with the governor of New Hampshire, who has just made masks optional in that state. He said even though we are moving closer, we are still a long way from herd immunity and cannot afford to let our guard down.

The mayor also reiterated his hope that Haverhill will reach a vaccination rate of 75% by the Fourth of July, saying then the city would really have something to celebrate.

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