Metro, Newton, Coronavirus Updates

Newton Vaccination Sites Stop Accepting New Appointments

Two COVID-19 vaccination sites—the TripAdvisor in Needham and the Boston Sports Club in Newton—are no longer scheduling appointments for the first dose of the vaccine due to the Commonwealth’s limited vaccine supply. Massachusetts is planning to focus on large vaccination sites, such as Fenway Park, Natick Mall, and Gillette Stadium, according to a statement from Mayor Ruthanne Fuller on Thursday. 

Mass General Brigham can no longer schedule new first-dose vaccine appointments due to an insufficiency of vaccine doses in the Commonwealth, according to a Mass General Brigham statement on Tuesday. The state will supply enough vaccines to vaccinate patients that have already scheduled first- and second-dose appointments as Mass General Brigham. 

At Newton-Wellesley Hospital, a member of Mass General Brigham, vaccine supplies are also limited because the hospital receives vaccines on a weekly basis from the Commonwealth, according to the hospital’s website.

Newton-Wellesley Hospital is managing the vaccinations on the first floor of the TripAdvisor headquarters in Needham. The site opened and began vaccinating Mass General Brigham and Newton-Wellesley patients on Feb. 3. 

Upon opening, the clinic planned to operate seven days a week and to initially vaccinate 630 patients a day, according to a press release from TripAdvisor. The press release stated that the number of vaccinations per day depended on supplies while Newton-Wellesley Hospital planned to expand access. 

Beth Israel Lahey Health is not able to schedule any new first-dose appointments or put patients on a waitlist for appointments at this time, according to the Beth Israel Lahey Health website. It had intended to open in mid-February at the Boston Sports Club on Wells Ave., providing vaccinations for Beth Israel patients. 

In Newton, the CVS located at 978 Boylston St., the Wegmans on 200 Boylston St., and the Mt. Ida campus of the University of Massachusetts Amherst are operating vaccination sites. Gillette Stadium and Fenway Park are also offering vaccines, according to the Newton government website

Mass. Governor Charlie Baker announced in a press conference on Wednesday that residents 65 and older, residents with two or more underlying health conditions, and those who live and work in low-income and affordable senior housing are eligible for the vaccine. About one million more people are eligible for the vaccine with this change, according to Fuller. This group is the second to become eligible for the vaccine in Phase 2 of the state’s vaccination plan. 

At one of the state’s large vaccination sites, such as Gillette Stadium or Fenway Park, one person who accompanies each patient 75 years or older can be vaccinated, but Beth Israel community-based vaccination centers are not vaccinating those who accompany seniors to their appointments due to shortages in the state’s supply, according to the Beth Israel website. 

Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said in the press conference Wednesday that over 50 percent of those 75 and older in Massachusetts have received the first dose of the vaccine. 

Massachusetts is expecting to receive 139,000 first doses of the vaccine beginning this coming week, Baker said in the press conference. He said that it will take at least a month for those eligible to get an appointment and receive their first vaccination, which Fuller said is optimistic. 

“Over a million people will now be eligible. But if we continue to only get 110,000 first doses of vaccine each week from the feds, it will take a while, at least a month, for everybody to get appointments and get their first vaccination,” Baker said. 

The Massachusetts vaccination appointment website crashed on Thursday morning following Baker’s announcement of increased eligibility for the vaccine, which led to frustration among many, according to Fuller. 

“Frustration mounted once it was able to be intermittently accessed as the available appointments at four mass vaccination sites in Springfield, Danvers, Natick and Dartmouth were fully booked before noon,” Fuller said.

She said that the Commonwealth has decided not to provide vaccines to local health departments, including Newton. Fuller said she regrets that the Newton Health and Human Services Department will not have vaccine supplies to provide public clinics in Newton.

“I understand the State’s decision is based on the health of everyone in the Commonwealth and creating the most efficient ways to get the greatest number of vaccine doses out as quickly as possible,” Fuller said in the statement. 

The city will continue to partner with Holtzman Medical Group to administer vaccines at the Mt. Ida campus of the UMass Amherst. The Newton Senior Center is helping vulnerable elderly residents in booking vaccine appointments at the Mt. Ida Campus. 

Featured Image by Johnathan Ye / Heights Senior Staff

February 22, 2021