First Distribution, Expected to Begin This Week, Will Be Limited to Harrington HealthCare Employees
SOUTHBRIDGE, MA, December 15, 2020 – Harrington HealthCare System (HHC) is set to open a central facility to provide COVID-19 vaccinations at the Southbridge Community Center located at 153 Chestnut Street. HHC received its first shipment of the FDA-approved vaccine produced by Pfizer today and will begin providing those vaccinations exclusively to all Harrington HealthCare System staff beginning as early as tomorrow.
HHC will begin making the vaccine available to others in the community over the weeks and months ahead in keeping with a phased distribution plan set out by the Governor Baker, the Massachusetts Department of Health and the Massachusetts Vaccine Advisory Group, which is made up of local government and healthcare leaders, the faith community, community organizations and others from across the state.
“Receiving this first shipment of vaccines here at Harrington HealthCare is a huge step towards easing and eventually ending the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in our community,” said HHC President and CEO Ed Moore. “Vaccinating our staff first will help to ensure a healthy workforce as we work to then provide the vaccine to the rest of the community over the coming months. As additional shipments of the vaccine are received at Harrington, our next step will be to coordinate with the leadership of local first responders, local nursing home facilities and other healthcare organizations to provide vaccinations to the staff and residents of those facilities in the next month or so.”
Massachusetts’ phased vaccine distribution plan calls for healthcare employees, first responders and staff and residents of long-term care and congregate living facilities to receive the vaccine first. The second phase is expected to occur from February to April, when other essential employees, high-risk individuals and all adults ages 65 and over can receive the vaccine. The third and final phase, when all members of the public can receive the vaccine, is expected to begin in April.
“We’re working closely with the state to implement the phased distribution of the COVID vaccine in the communities we serve over the next several months, and we will continue to communicate to the public about when, where and how they can receive the vaccine as we move through each phase,” Moore said. “In the meantime, we cannot stress enough how important it is for everyone to continue to wear masks, stay at least 6 feet away from others outside your household, and wash your hands often. No one tool alone is going to stop this pandemic. We all need to remain vigilant in continuing to follow all of the proper precautions in order to protect ourselves and others.”
For further information on the COVID-19 vaccine, the Massachusetts COVID vaccine distribution plan, and other COVID-19 updates, visit mass.gov/COVID.
Harrington HealthCare System is a comprehensive regional healthcare system serving more than 25 communities across south-central Massachusetts and northeastern Connecticut. The system includes Harrington Hospital in Southbridge, Harrington HealthCare at Webster and three additional major medical office buildings: Harrington HealthCare at Charlton, Harrington HealthCare at 169, also in Charlton, and Harrington HealthCare at Spencer; Harrington Physician Services, our primary care and multi-specialty physician group; UrgentCare Express at Harrington in Charlton and Oxford; The Cancer Center at Harrington in Southbridge, and the region’s largest Behavioral Health programs for mental health and substance use.