BRATTLEBORO — As vaccination efforts to guard against COVID-19 continue, the town stands ready to provide a hand in getting shots into arms.
At a special Select Board meeting held remotely Tuesday, Town Manager Peter Elwell said the town learned in mid-January that the Vermont Department of Health was looking for firefighters and those who provide medical services “to strengthen their forces so to speak in bringing out the vaccine to the population.”
“They were looking for help in making sure that in some cases they had a greater capacity to do testing,” he said. “But for the most part, the emphasis on this is vaccination. And they were looking for folks to make a commitment right away, you know?”
Elwell said the town was asked if any of its employees would be willing to help.
“We very much are,” he said. “We have employees who are interested in providing these services, and we are well equipped as an organization to participate in this and provide some support to the state and help make sure this all happens as quickly as possible for the community. So we leaped on it and made this commitment.”
The Select Board voted 4-0 to ratify Elwell’s decision to accept and appropriate the COVID Emergency Outbreak Testing and Vaccination Administration Grant in an amount not to exceed $100,000. Board member Brandie Starr didn’t attend the meeting.
The grant allows the town to be reimbursed up to $100,000 for its services. Elwell said the money will cover paying those involved in the vaccination efforts and those involved in related administrative work.
“I just wanted to applaud your action because it’s just what we need — it’s state and town coordination,” Select Board Vice Chairwoman Elizabeth McLoughlin said, adding that the virus is more prevalent now than it was in March and April.
Elwell anticipates more funds could become available if they run out.