Patience Urged for Vaccine, Barnstable County Says Distribution On Schedule

Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment Director, Sean O’Brien

HYANNIS – Cape Cod Reopening Task Force members recently urged residents to have “patience” regarding the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Cape and Islands State Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro) said that as case numbers continue to rise statewide and Cape-wide, the practice of social distancing and other safety protocols is as important as ever. 

“This continues to be a very dangerous situation that continues to affect Cape Codders,” said Cyr at the recent task force meeting. 

Vaira Harik of the Barnstable County Department of Human Services and task force member said that although cases are still rising, Cape Cod Healthcare has not reported issues in handling the surge of hospitalizations at this time.

She also said that state COVID-19 case cluster investigations have revealed that household spread is the most prominent way that the virus spreads, with transmission within long-term care facilities following after.

Sean O’Brien, Director of the Barnstable Department of Health and Environment, said that the recent increase in cases can still be a result of Thanksgiving travel.. 

He also said that, correspondingly, the region may see increases in case numbers all the way through February due to holiday travel from household spread during Christmas and New Years; more recent spreading events.

O’Brien said that testing continues in the Falmouth and Hyannis site for asymptomatic individuals in order to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 as vaccine distribution continues.

According to O’Brien, the region is on schedule for first responders to receive vaccine doses at the start of next week in accordance with the state’s distribution plan. 

O’Brien said that residents will be kept up to date with the most recent vaccination and distribution  information from the Department of Health and Environment as it becomes available to them.

“Right now, we’re really working on the initial phases of Phase 1. As soon as we have some information coming out from DPH, we’ll start to share it,” said O’Brien. 

“After we get first responders taken care of, we’ll start moving to the other folks within Phase 1, we’ll then move towards Phase 2, and then that third phase as part of vaccinations.” 

According to O’Brien, the distribution plan is still on track to get Phase 1 of vaccinations done by the end of February. 

Phase 2 is expected to begin by the end of February and finish in April, with the general public expected to receive the vaccine in the April to June window. 

Cyr asked residents to be patient as the vaccines continue to be rolled out to groups of the population, and that they will be notified of all data and information by the task force as soon as it is available. 

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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