Vaccination clinics: There is a first-dose Moderna vaccination clinic this Saturday, March 13 at Mahar Regional High School in Orange starting at 9AM. Unlike the clinics held there last month, this is a public clinic arranged by the Franklin Regional Council of Governments and the Orange Board of Health. The clinic received only one-third of the doses they hoped for. As a public clinic, the doses must be shared with other municipalities, and the town of Wendell was allotted only 12 appointments. Using our list of 65+ residents, the first 12 people who were able to be contacted and needed a vaccination were registered and no appointments for Wendell remain open.
The state is now prioritizing mass vaccination sites, such as Eastfield Mall in Springfield, to receive vaccine, making it more difficult to conduct local private clinics. Efforts to continue serving local populations continue, but scheduling for clinics cannot be confirmed until the delivery date of the vaccine is verified. We will update the public when future local clinics are set, but there is likely to be short notice. In the meantime, we encourage everyone to continue using the Mass.gov vaxfinder website. We also now have a third, one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health reports this should become available around the end of March or early April. They estimate it may take as long as a month for everyone in all eligible groups to schedule an appointment. This will definitely require patience and persistence, but please keep trying.
New preregistration process for mass vaccination sites: Effective Friday, March 12, eligible residents will preregister for appointments at mass vaccination sites only at mass.gov/COVIDVaccine and complete the online registration form found there. These sites will no longer be included on the previously used booking websites. Residents will get a confirmation and receive weekly updates about their status. When an appointment becomes available, the resident will be notified and will have 24 hours to accept the appointment. If the appointment is not accepted, the resident goes back into the queue to wait for another appointment. It could take several weeks to secure one. You can also continue using 2-1-1 to get help with these appointments.
Educator Vaccination Days: There are four days being set aside for K-12 educators, childcare workers and K-12 school staff to receive their vaccinations at the 7 mass vaccination sites . *These dates are Saturday, March 27, Saturday, April 3, Saturday April 10 and Sunday April 11. Only first doses will be offered. * Workers must use the preregistration system explained above, or book an appointment through the federal retail pharmacy's program's CVS website. Other vaccine providers may choose to restrict certain days to educators as well and must submit their dates by March 15. Because the vaccine supply is limited, K-12 educators, childcare workers and K-12 staff may not receive vaccine until mid-April or later.
Well water testing program: The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection is working with UMass Amherst and UMass Lowell to provide free testing of water from private wells in Wendell and other selected towns. They will be testing for six specific PFAS, which are per- and polyfluoralkyl chemicals which can be harmful to human health. About 40 wells will be tested, some pre-selected due to their location and others at the request of property owners. Invitations for testing should be going out this week. If you do not receive an invitation and wish to have your well tested, you may go to dwp-pfas.madwpdep.org to apply. If unable to access the website, you may call (413) 545-PFAS.
While the testing is free, there may be costs to owners if mitigation is needed to correct PFAS levels. MassDEP can provide technical assistance to support those efforts.
To learn more about this program visit the Wendell Board of Health website.
Wendell Board of Health:
Wibby Swedbrg, Health Agent