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Berkshires Rates Highest in Population Percentage Vaccinated
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
07:10PM / Wednesday, February 17, 2021
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Three collaborative vaccination sites opened in Berkshire County last week. So far, 15 percent of the county's residents have gotten their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Berkshire County again got high marks from the governor on Wednesday for being No. 1 in the percentage of vaccinations it's been administering. 
 
"The big message we got from the public was vaccinate, vaccinate, and there's no question the fastest way to do this is with high volume sites," Gov. Charlie Baker said at Wednesday's daily briefing. "Now, it's worth pointing out that we have four county collaboratives right now that have been operating for several weeks in Berkshire County, Barnstable County, Franklin County and Worcester County. 
 
"Those regional collaboratives, which have now been running for several weeks, the countywide ones have proven to be pretty effective."
 
Three of the four counties have vaccination rates above the state average. 
 
Berkshire County, which is operating three regional collaborative sites in Great Barrington, North Adams and Pittsfield, has the highest percentage in the state with 15 percent of the population having received their first dose. Barnstable is second at 14, and Franklin at 13. 
 
High capacity sites have to offer 750 appointments per day, which the North Adams site had reached in its first days open to those age 75 and older. 
 
Site coordinator Amalio Jusino in North Adams said last week that catering to a smaller area would mean a cut in the supply of vaccine here so it made since to expand the area to show not only there was a need it could meet, but that it was capable of administering more doses.  
 
"What we're hoping is that the receiving entity for the vaccine gets promised and confirmed a larger amount," he said. "So then we can plan ahead a little bit, like this is a week to week thing. It's very difficult."
 
The local high-volume sites have been flexible on appointments, first offering slots to companions/caregivers of those 75 and older when the governor last week allowed those doses at the three mass vaccination sites, and allowing appointments for those 65 and older on Wednesday as soon as the state announced scheduling would begin on Thursday. This was to ensure people could get into the Thursday clinics. 
 
At Wednesday's meeting of the Williamstown Prudential Committee, which oversees the town's fire district, Chief Craig Pedercini said most of the town's first responders had received their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and made a call for volunteers to help at the North Adams vaccination site.
 
"We've been over there volunteering. We've had some of our firefighters there and some of my young [Williams College] students. It went very well. They did a great job. Their job was working with elderly people in the parking lot."
 
"There are a lot of firefighters and police officers working that part of it, along with the EMTs, who are handling the actual administering of the vaccine, of course."
 
"If anyone wants to volunteer, get in touch with me. Even if it's checking people in, taking their temperature when they come in the door. I think a lot of [volunteers] are gung-ho right now. But they're going to start getting burned out, and we're going to need other people to fill in."
 
The North Adams site at St. Elizabeth's Parish Hall has regular days of Tuesdays and Thursdays and others as needed. This week, the clinic is open from 2 to 7 on Thursday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. The Pfizer vaccine is being offered on both days.
 
The Great Barrington clinic at W.E.B DuBois is open Saturday from 11 to 4 with the Moderna vaccine; Berkshire Community College's Paterson Field House is open Thursday from 2 to 7 and Saturday 8 to 2, with the Pfizer vaccine. 
 
Appointments are first come, first served. Make an appointment at www.getvaccinatedberkshires.org.
 
Staff writer Stephen Dravis contributed to this article.
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