VA Bedford and Haverhill Veterans’ Services Plan COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic Locally March 21

VA Bedford Healthcare System and the Haverhill Department of Veterans’ Services plan a local Veteran COVID-19 vaccination clinic later this month. VA will administer the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine by appointment to local veterans Sunday, March 21, at 9 a.m., at the Dr. Albert B. Consentino School, 685 Washington St., Haverhill. The vaccines are provided for those who are currently enrolled in VA health care, with no age restrictions. Veterans may call VA Bedford’s COVID-19 vaccination line at 781-687-4000 to schedule appointments. The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses given approximately 21 days apart.

Greater Lawrence Family Health Center Physicians Take COVID-19 Vaccine Questions Tuesday

Physicians from Greater Lawrence Family Health Center are going online tomorrow afternoon to take the public’s questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. The free forum is sponsored by Northern Essex Community College and takes place Tuesday, March 2, at 4:30 p.m. Those interested are asked to register here or email [email protected] Greater Lawrence Family Health Center offers primary health care through community health centers in Lawrence, Haverhill and Methuen.

Methuen Honors Victims of COVID-19 At Outdoor Memorial Ceremony Monday at Noon

The City of Methuen honors its COVID-19 dead in a memorial program at noon, Monday. The presentation is expected to feature an honor guard, remarks by Mayor Neil Perry, recognition of victims’ families, symbolic 71 bell tolls, moment of silence and COVID-19 victim memorial flag display. The memorial begins at noon, on the front lawn of the Quinn Building, 90 Hampshire St., Methuen.

State Removes Some COVID-19 Restrictions Monday; Haverhill City Hall to Reopen

With the state returning Monday to Step 2, Phase III of its COVID-19 reopening plan, Haverhill likewise plans to fully reopen City Hall that day. Gov. Charlie Baker’s plan returns the Commonwealth to the December phase it was in before new COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations followed the Thanksgiving holiday. One practical effect of the new rules is restaurants will no longer have a percent capacity limit and will be permitted to host musical performances. A six-foot social distance, limit of six people per table and 90-minute limits remains in place. Other venues, such as indoor performance spaces and recreational activities with greater potential for contact, will have a capacity limit of 50%.

VA Bedford Opens COVID-19 Vaccinations to All Veterans Regardless of Age Starting Today

VA Bedford Healthcare System is opening COVID-19 vaccinations to all veterans enrolled in VA healthcare, regardless of age, starting today. Enrolled veterans and designated caregivers may receive the vaccine by making appointments by calling 781-687-4000 weekdays. Appointments are available daily, including weekends, from 7 a.m.-4:45 p.m. VA is administering the Pfizer vaccine in the auditorium of Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital, 200 Springs Road, Bedford. Veterans will automatically be scheduled for their second dose in three weeks while in the clinic. Veterans who wish to use the shuttle between local VA clinics and the Veterans Hospital should reserve seats before making their appointments.

Haverhill, Methuen, Lawrence Share in $4.7 Million State Effort to Vaccinate Hard-to-Reach Residents

Gov. Charlie Baker is putting $4.7 million into a program to help vaccinate residents in Haverhill, Methuen and Lawrence and 17 other communities that are described as “disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.”

The effort aims to reduce barriers to vaccination in the 20 hardest-hit communities in the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth will work with Archipelago Strategies Group and Health Care for All to work with “local leaders and community- and faith-based organizations to strengthen existing efforts in these cities and towns.”

“This work will complement the Commonwealth’s $2.5 million public awareness campaign, ‘Trust the Facts, Get the Vax,’ adapting the campaign’s messaging for specific communities. The initiative will focus on the 20 municipalities with the greatest COVID-19 case burden, taking into account social determinants of health and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on people of color,” Baker’s office said in a statement. The initiative specifically focuses on communities of color, homebound seniors, disabled individuals and other hard-to-reach populations. It is expected to hire local residents and work with local organizations with cultural and language competencies.

DiZoglio Wants Answers to How State Chose Vaccine Vendors and Sites or Will Seek Audit

State Sen. Diana DiZoglio wants answers to questions about the state’s troubled COVID-19 vaccine rollout and is prepared to ask the state auditor to investigate if necessary. DiZoglio said one question is how certain vendors were selected to help distribute the vaccine. She said she wants answers from Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration or will push state Auditor Suzanne M. Bump to conduct an audit. In a letter last week to Bump, DiZoglio said she has heard concerns from residents around transparency and accountability in the rollout process. DiZoglio said her office asked the state Department of Public Health whether the state formally solicited proposals, but was told that “since vaccination distribution is a federal process, (the state does) not have a role in that.”

“All of the vendors appear to be private companies.

Failure of State Vaccination Website Brings Renewed Calls for Changes, Pre-Registration System

The failure of the state’s vaccine appointment website yesterday brought renewed criticism of Massachusetts’ vaccine rollout. Even Gov. Charlie Baker told “Boston Public Radio,” “My hair’s on fire about the whole thing. I can’t even begin to tell you how pissed off I am,” when asked about the website debacle just after noon. He later added, “This is not satisfactory...it’s awful. It’s going to get fixed and I’m going to work very hard to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Sen. Diana DiZoglio this week filed a bill, calling for a COVID-19 vaccination pre-registration system.