Mashpee Fire Department and Community Health Center Continue Immunization Efforts | Mashpee News
The end of the COVID-19 pandemic is approaching, in large part thanks to the efforts of the people who distribute the vaccines. In the town of Mashpee, two groups helping to administer the vaccines were the Mashpee Fire Department and the Cape Cod Community Health Center.
As part of this partnership, the fire department and community health center together organized over 10 different immunization clinics and administered doses to over 1,200 people just through their partnership.
âThe Cape Cod Community Health Center was fantastic; they ran all the clinics, âsaid Mashpee Fire Chief Thomas C. Rullo. âThey were very adamant about how they wanted us to do the vaccine.â
Karen L. Gardner, Executive Director of the Community Health Center, said, âThe partnership with Mashpee Fire has been amazing.â
âChef Rullo has put all of his support behind the community and has always been a caring and creative partner,â she said. âTogether, we have been able to immunize over 75 Mashpee residents at home and deliver hundreds of vaccines in partnership with Christ the King, Mashpee Schools, the Mashpee Chamber of Commerce and others.â
Chief Rullo said the community health center provided the vaccines for the clinics while it provided firefighters to do the vaccines. Home nurses, provided by the Mashpee Board of Health, also helped administer the doses.
When given the chance to administer the vaccine, Chief Rullo immediately said many firefighters in the department jumped at the chance.
âIn the fire department, we usually deal with problems after they become a problem. In this case, we try to solve a problem before it ever becomes a problem, âhe said. âIt’s very stimulating. They loved to give the vaccines. They felt like they were really doing something.
The fire department and community health center attempted to reach a wide range of people during this time. The first clinics carried out were visits to people confined to the house. Chief Rullo said the list of people requiring home vaccination had been provided to them and the community health center by the board of health. He added that none of this would be possible without this collaboration and strong communication.
During these home visits, Mashpee Emergency Medical Services scoured the town and administered around 10 injections a day, even administering injections to residents of Sandwich. People on home visits made sure to stay at least 15 minutes after the dose, sometimes even 30 minutes to make sure the person receiving it felt well.
âA lot of these people who are housebound suffer from other illnesses,â he said. “So we spent a lot of time with these people because they were quite afraid of the vaccine.”
In addition to the home visits, Chief Rullo said vaccines had been administered at Christ the King Parish, Cape Cod Church across from the Fairgrounds and one at Mashpee Middle-High School for students.
Making the vaccine accessible to anyone who wants it is important to Chief Rullo and his staff, so much so that they even held an after-hours clinic on April 30 with follow-up last Friday., May 21. The clinic was held from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., which was different from the traditional 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. when the other clinics had been held.
âDid we welcome a lot of people? No, but we caught some people who probably wanted to do it, but it might not have been so convenient, âsaid Chef Rullo.
Over the past few months, Chief Rullo and his department have seen the positive effects that can come from receiving the vaccine. Earlier in the pandemic, he said they were getting three to four COVID-related calls per day. Today there are only four calls left for the whole week.
At present, there are no more scheduled clinics run jointly by the fire department and the community health center (after the students received their second dose today. Ms Gardner said the vaccines are now available in “large quantities” from pharmacies and primary health care (PCP) providers and has steered people in that direction. She added that Community Health Center patients can receive it at their pharmacy or at their PCP.
As of May 18, about 60% of Mashpees had received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine. Even though these groups are unsure of what to do next with their own immunization efforts, all they know is that they want to see the number of immunizations continue to rise.
âI’m not sure what’s next. I am ready to do something else. I think what we need to do is determine our target group, so who is the next target group, do we think? Said Chief Rullo. âWe’re not just going to wash our hands of this. We will continue this.
âWe are always available to help if community members are having difficulty accessing a vaccine,â Ms. Gardner said.