PITTSFIELD — After nearly six months of public vaccination at large venues in Pittsfield, Great Barrington, and North Adams, the Berkshire Vaccine Collaborative announced plans to scale down its three large clinic sites gradually over the next month. The collaborative will offer first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine through both scheduled and walk-in appointments at all clinics until Thursday, May 27, after which time the clinic will no longer administer first-dose appointments, but will continue delivering second doses until late June.
“We are incredibly proud of the work that the Berkshire Vaccine Collaborative has done to vaccinate tens of thousands of people in our community,” said Darlene Rodowicz, executive vice president of Berkshire Health Systems, noting that, according to the most recent data, nearly 60% of Berkshire County residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 43% have been fully vaccinated. “This collaboration between the Berkshire County Boards of Health Association, Berkshire Health Systems, Community Health Programs, North Adams EMS, the city of Pittsfield, and our county’s public-health nurses has been incredibly effective. At the height of demand, we were able to vaccine more than 1,000 people per day.”
However, Rodowicz explained that increasing vaccine supply and declining demand has called for a change in strategy. Beginning in June, the collaborative will shift to smaller, pop-up clinics in community locations where pockets of individuals remain unvaccinated. Additionally, walk-in vaccination will be available every day from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the COVID-19 testing center at 505 East St., Pittsfield. The North Adams and Great Barrington testing centers will soon provide similar walk-in service.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) recently authorized Massachusetts providers to administer vaccine to patients who live outside of Massachusetts if they receive their medical care in the state. This means residents of neighboring states who usually receive healthcare in Berkshire County are now eligible to receive vaccination through the Berkshire Vaccine Collaborative.
Furthermore, anyone who did not receive their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine (three weeks after their initial shot) or Moderna vaccine (four weeks after their initial shot) when it was originally scheduled can receive their second dose at any upcoming clinic. The CDC has advised that, to receive the most protection, people should receive all recommended doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
“We want to make sure every person who wants a vaccine has the opportunity to be fully vaccinated,” Rodowicz said. “It’s not too late to get your second dose.”