State educators get their shots at Dartmouth mass vaccination site
Nearly 200 educators had a day for the books on March 27 at the first of four mass vaccination clinics designated for educators and school staff.
The state-run clinic at the old Circuit City at the Dartmouth Towne Center was part of a large push as the state plans to put elementary school students back into the classroom full time by April 5 and middle schoolers back on April 28.
“I’ve been waiting a bit to do this and I’m so glad I got the notification to come here,” said Cameron McCarthy, a Fall River middle school teacher..
He added that although he does “feel a bit safer” after the first shot, he will continue to wear a mask in the classroom and follow any regulations.
The Fall River substitute was one of 190 educators to get their shots at the Curative-run facility in Dartmouth, in addition to the 510 second-dose patients who also attended the March 27 clinic.
According to Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders, 25,000 doses of vaccine will be available exclusively for educators at the mass vaccination sites across the four designated days.
Avery Sherwood, a paraprofessional at Carver Elementary, said that getting that first Pfizer shot has made her “more comfortable” ahead of the full-time return of third, fourth, and fifth grade students next week.
“It’s a big relief,” she added. “Classes are about to get a lot larger.”
Wareham Head Start teacher Suzanne Pires agreed, noting that her class is already near capacity, with 13 of 17 students currently attending in person.
“It’s about time,” she said. “We’re the ones with all of the children coming in.”
The Pre-K instructor added that the Circuit City site was the closest mass vaccination site to her home in Wareham.
“There’s nothing [state-run] in Wareham, but down the Cape is worse,” she said.
In addition to the mass vaccination sites, educators could also book their shots at Southcoast Health’s clinics.
Dartmouth’s K-12 workers also had the option to get their shots during private clinics at Dartmouth High, held by the town’s Department of Health this past Wednesday and Friday.
“We are pleased we have been able to help by offering our facility, technology assistance, as well as nursing and secretarial help,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bonny Gifford said. “The clinics have demonstrated what a community can do when the people work together.”
The school department had previously offered to host mass clinics for the town’s educators, but the site was shut down earlier this month after the state decided to prioritize distributing vaccine supply to their state-controlled mass vaccination sites.
According to the superintendent, around 70 Dartmouth Public Schools staffers booked appointments for the private in-school clinics. She noted that many were able to book at other clinics such as Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.
Future educator clinics at the mass vaccination sites are scheduled for April 3, April 10, and April 11.
School workers looking to set up appointments at those clinics are required to use the preregistration system at vaccinesignup.mass.gov.