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Hospital Opens Booster Shot Appointments

October 1, 2021

By: Brian Dowd, MV Times

Appointments for third dose Pfizer booster shots will be available tonight at 5 through the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital website.

Speaking to reporters on a conference call Friday morning, hospital chief nurse and chief executive officer Claire Seguin said the state, which allocates the booster shots, is providing the Island hospital with 156 doses for booster appointments.

“More vaccine boosters will come, but this is how the process will begin,” Seguin said. “If I may borrow the words from the Centers for Disease Control and a former colleague at MGH Rochelle Walensky, ‘What I want to say is this is a walk, don’t run situation to get your boost.’”

Here is a list of those eligible for the booster shot:

  • People 65 years of age and older
  • People 18 years and older with an underlying medical condition or who work or live in a high-risk setting

Additionally, an eligible person needs to have received their second dose of Pfizer at least six months ago, which at this point would be the end of March.

Underlying medical conditions are cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic lung disease, dementia or other neurological conditions, diabetes, down syndrome, heart conditions, HIV infection, immunocompromised state, liver disease, obesity, pregnancy, sickle cell disease, cigarette smokers, organ or blood stem cell transplant, stroke, and substance use disorder.

High risk work settings are first responders, education staff, food and agriculture, manufacturing, corrections, U.S. postal service, public transit, and grocery stores.

High-risk living situations are healthcare facilities, schools, correctional facilities, long-term care facilities, and homeless shelters.

Appointments available Friday night at 5 pm can be scheduled for either Tuesday, Oct. 5 from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm, Wednesday, Oct. 6 from 11 to 4:30 pm, or Friday, Oct. 8 from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm. The booster shot will be administered through the hospital’s drive through testing vaccine tent which is located at the front of the hospital near the main entrance.

Schedule an appointment

To schedule an appointment visit mvhospital.org, click the yellow banner at the top of the page, look for booster shots and click on the booster shots link. This link will take you to a scheduling site. The scheduling site can also be accessed directly by going to covidvaccine.massgeneralbrigham.org. Those who need assistance can also call 508-684-4500.

“We suspect the first 60 doses will go quickly, but we anticipate the state, which is distributing the Pfizer boosters, will be sending us more in the days ahead,” Seguin said.

Booster shots are not yet available for those who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson shots.

According to Seguin, side effects can vary for each person, but people should expect similar reactions to what they got from the other two shots.

As the pandemic stretches into its second fall, the hospital is continuing its regular COVID vaccine program. The hospital has 235 first and second dose appointments scheduled next week.

Seguin said third dose booster shots are recommended, and eventually everyone will need one. The focus now is on high-risk individuals.

“It’s not a run situation,” she said. “It’s not something you have to do urgently, we’re all protected right now.”

The hospital has administered 163 third dose shots to individuals deemed immunocompromised.

While the dose is the same, Seguin said there has been interchangeable use of third dose and booster shots even though the two terms refer to different groups. “Third dose” shots refer to prioritized immunocompromised individuals. The “booster dose” refers to people who need to reinforce the waning effects of the vaccine.

Seguin said that overall, the hospital is running into capacity constraints.

“Not all COVID related, more from deferred preventative care. We’re seeing that here and that is really a national issue and statewide,” Seguin said.

But the hospital has been seeing fewer hospitalizations and case counts as of late. Currently there are no COVID hospitalizations. There have also been no recent COVID-related transfers.

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