West Springfield waiting on state’s approval for larger vaccination site at Big E Fairgrounds

Hampden County

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Some eligible seniors are having a hard time staying optimistic, as appointments continue to be in high demand.

To increase vaccinations, the state is shifting its attention to larger sites, but that will affect towns like West Springfield that set up vaccination clinics for its residents.

“It was easy to call them and make appointments, there is none of this website frustration that we were seeing across the state,” said West Springfield Mayor, William Reichelt. “In all of the hiccups of this rollout, this is one piece that has worked very well.”

With the state ending shipments of first doses to small community-based clinics, West Springfield is moving forward with its plan to open a larger site, called a regional collaborate at The Big E.

They want to work with neighboring towns like Agawam to do it. Mayor Reichelt told 22News they’d want to open the regional site at the transportation building, behind the avenue of states and they are looking at vaccinating 1,200 people per day.

He added, “In metro-Springfield, there are hundreds of thousands of people who live here and only one mass vaccination site I think its difficult and this region is being underserved, so I think with this regional collaborative, we can definitely better serve Hampden County.”

To improve the booking process, Gov. Baker is considering a centralized system where you can pre-register for an appointment before doses are available. Its already being used in Florida, West Virginia, and New Jersey.

Mayor Reichelt is hoping to get the approval for the Big E site by next week, so they can start vaccinations as soon as possible.

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