Westerly to vaccinate around half of town’s vulnerable population over next four weeks

WESTERLY, R.I. (WLNE) – A vaccination clinic in the Town of Westerly opened Monday afternoon, vaccinating more than 500 residents aged 75 and older on its first day.

The clinic, located at the Westerly Senior Center, will vaccinate the town’s most vulnerable residents with first doses of the Moderna vaccine on Monday afternoons for the next four weeks. The four weeks after that will be reserved for those residents’ second doses.

“It’s a tremendous amount of hope. The seniors that have come in today are smiling, they’re happy… I know we use the term light at the end of the tunnel a lot, but it really is. It’s just a sense of hope around hopefully ending this horrible, horrible pandemic,” said Kerin DaCruz, Chief Nursing Officer for L+M Healthcare.

The clinic is a collaborative effort between Yale New Haven Health, Westerly Hospital, and the Town of Westerly.

Residents can register for a vaccine online, and the Westerly Police Department has set up a hotline to help residents who might struggle with technology.

“Some of the registration questions and the forms you have to go through can certainly be challenging to some of the 75 and older population. They don’t have email, a computer, they don’t have a way of registering,” said Chief Shawn Lacey.

Lacey estimates that around half of the town’s senior population will receive a vaccine through this clinic.

“We have a population of 2,200 over 75 in town, and when we’re done over the next four weeks, we’ll be down to about 1,100 or 1,200, so the reality is we’re about halfway there.”

The clinic’s first day had a line out the door, as people eagerly awaited their shot. Appointments were made six minutes apart over six hours.

“I was ecstatic that they had it to be honest with you. It took my wife two weeks to actually get the appointment,” said Phillip Hawkesworth, whose 88-year-old mother-in-law got the vaccine. “You know, there’s a lot of people here and you can see that people do want to get the shot. We’re very happy that it’s here, that they came here. Extremely happy, cause you know, we’re at the end of the state. We’re basically in Connecticut.”

Residents said the process was easy, and they’re grateful to the police department for helping book appointments.

“As a matter of fact, I called the police department, and they said this is the deal. They helped me through everything,” said Francis Michael Joseph of Westerly. “You show up when you’re supposed to show up, you get your inoculation, you wait for a few minutes and you go home.”

To schedule an appointment, click here.

© WLNE-TV 2021

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Regional News, Rhode Island