Vaccination site updates: Starting February 18, those ages 65+ and those with 2+ medical conditions can begin booking appointments for Covid-19 vaccinations. All previously eligible Phase 1 and Phase 2 individuals are also still eligible to be vaccinated. As of this posting, there is no local clinic scheduled for this group. If and when one becomes available, we will let you know. You can find an available site and schedule an appointment by going to:
This is a very large group, so it may take a month or so for everyone to book their appointments, according to Governor Baker's announcement.
The clinic being held at Ralph C. Mahar Regional High School on Wednesday, Feb. 24 is ONLY for those in Orange, Wendell and New Salem who are 75+ and received their first doses there on Feb. 3 and Feb. 6. The provision that caregivers may also receive a vaccination when accompanying a person 75+ currently applies only to mass vaccination sites; the closest one to us is at Eastfield Mall in Springfield.
Masking: The need to keep wearing masks, washing hands, avoiding indoor gatherings, and practicing social distancing continues, even after you have been fully vaccinated. While the vaccine prevents people from getting ill, it may still be possible to carry the virus; scientific study continues on that. Also, there are several variants that are becoming more common in our country that may be more transmissible, so the need for protection is ongoing. The CDC reports that double masking greatly increases the blockage of airborne particles that carry the virus. They recommend that you wear a surgical-type mask underneath a cloth mask. Knot the ear loops on the surgical masks for a tighter fit. If you have a small face and there are gaps on the sides, you can overlap a pleat of the surgical mask to another pleat and staple it on each side to tighten it. Be sure to staple from the inside of the mask so the ends of the staples are on the outside and they don't scratch your face.
It is a very exciting time, now that vaccines are becoming more easily available. It will take months for enough people to be fully vaccinated to greatly reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission, but we are getting there.
Barbara Craddock For the Wendell Board of Health