Berkshire County rolls out COVID-19 vaccine with minimal problems

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PITTSFIELD, M.A. (NEWS10) – Berkshire County held it’s third COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Tuesday at the Berkshire Community College. The clinic included one of the first people in the county who contracted the coronavirus.

The Pittsfield County Health Department vaccinated 380 residents with the Moderna vaccine. The clinic was for residents who qualified under Phase 1A and Phase 1B. Many of them included first responders, and health care workers.  

“I’m not a tough guy by any means, but it didn’t hurt at all,” said Pittsfield Police Lieutenant John Soules.

Lieutenant Soules was one of the first in Berkshire County to contract COVID-19. He says he luckily only had mild symptoms. After hearing he qualified for the vaccine, he says that was even more of a reason to get the shot.

“I obviously wanted to get the vaccine so I don’t get the virus again or get it worse. I don’t want to affect anyone else. I also have elderly parents and I have a father who has serious health issues,” said Lieutenant Soules.

“I really wanted to get the vaccine to protect myself. I also have four young children at home, and I wanted to protect them and the families that I work with,” said Samantha Zawistowski, Social Worker and Certified Intervention Specialist.

Samantha is a social worker who works with families who have new borns to three-year-olds. She says the process to make an appointment for the vaccine was easy and getting it was a breeze.

“As far as the vaccine hurting, it really didn’t hurt. I mean it’s a traditional kind of shot, it was a quick in and out process,” said Zawistowki.  

In response to inquiries regarding COVID-19 vaccinations, the Pittsfield Health Department established new hotline last week to provide residents with updated information. The hotline is 413-449-5575.

“It’s just been a very large volume of calls. So we figured if we could deflect some of those calls about the vaccine, our hotline could answer questions pre-recorded. This has made our work just a little bit more manageable” Dr. Alan Kulberg, Chair of the Pittsfield Board of Health.

The Pittsfield Health Department COVID-19 vaccination hotline includes what phase of vaccinations the county is on, who is eligible, and more information on the vaccine.

Dr. Alan Kulberg says when it comes to the vaccine rollout, the county hasn’t had any computer crashes, just a backlog on phone calls. He says people who are eligible can make appointments for the vaccine online. Dr. Kulberg says the vaccine rollout in Berkshire County has been going pretty smoothly so far.

Samantha says getting the shot is one step closer to ending the pandemic.

“It’s a definitely a small part that we as individuals can do to return to some type of normalcy,”  said she.

Once you get the COVID-19 vaccine, you are advised to sit in a chair for 15 minutes. Volunteers will monitor your symptoms and then you will check out with the local paramedics.

Berkshire County says they are holding vaccination clinics every Tuesday and Thursday through February at the Berkshire Community College with appointment only.

For more information, visit the COVID-19 page on the City of Pittsfield’s website.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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