Rebecca M. Sykes Wellness Center staff, athletic trainers, and public safety officers at Andover have received one of the two approved Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna, according to Medical Director Dr. Amy Patel. Patel is currently working on ensuring Andover faculty and staff receive vaccinations when eligible and is hopeful that students will be able to receive the vaccine in the spring, though she notes that each state in the U.S. has a different vaccine rollout plan.
“Lawrence General Hospital has run numerous community clinics, and access to vaccines for eligible individuals continues to expand… We are working on ensuring access to vaccines once [Andover] employees are eligible. I am hopeful that [Andover] employees will have access to Covid-19 vaccines by late winter. Student access in Massachusetts will be later, hopefully in the spring,” wrote Patel in an email to The Phillipian.
While the Andover community awaits access to the vaccine, the administration has constructed an extensive testing plan for the month of February while only members of the Senior Class are on campus, with staff and students required to get tested twice a week.
In the state of Massachusetts, the vaccine rollout is split into three phases. The first phase primarily concerns frontline first responders and healthcare workers, which includes much of the staff working at the Wellness Center, according to Patel. The second phase pertains to people over the age of 75, those with underlying health conditions, and essential workers. It also includes employees in K-12 schools, which applies to Andover faculty and teaching staff. Finally, the third phase will allow the general public to receive the vaccine, according to the Government of Massachusetts’s website.
Currently, Massachusetts is moving into Phase 2 of the vaccination rollout, which began on Monday, February 1. According to Patel, many Andover staff eligible during Phase 1 have opted to take the Covid-19 vaccine.
“Vaccination efforts prior to this time have included Phase 1 individuals, which include health professionals and first responders. Members of the Rebecca M. Sykes Wellness Center team, athletic trainers, and public safety officers have been eligible for the vaccine, and many have been vaccinated with at least their first (of a two-dose series) of one of the two currently available Covid-19 vaccines,” wrote Patel.
Both available Covid-19 vaccines are based on mRNA technology, and they have been administered to Andover staff at the Lawrence General Hospital. The hospital has been giving vaccines to health care workers residing in Essex County, Mass. and the city of Lawrence. The vaccine was first delivered to the Lawrence General Hospital on December 15, according to “The Eagle-Tribune.”