NEWFANE — On his way to go fishing, Andrew Powell noticed a big sign for walk-in COVID-19 vaccinations at the NewBrook fire station. He figured he would go get a shot on his return home if the clinic was still open.
“The line was shorter,” he said Sunday as he entered information into an electronic device while waiting in line.
He had been meaning to get vaccinated for a while. As owner of Powell Welding in Townshend, he deals with a lot of customers. He’s also planning a honeymoon vacation outside the United States later in the year.
The shot felt painless to Powell.
“You’re really good at that,” he said to Marc Balch, an emergency medical technician with Rescue Inc. who administered the shot.
Kris Johnston, logistics section chief for Rescue, said slots for vaccinations were posted online by the state but 175 of 300 didn’t fill up so Rescue was able to offer walk-in appointments.
The hope is that no doses go bad. When Rescue gets doses of the Pfizer vaccine from a freezer in Burlington on Thursday, personnel have until 8 a.m. Tuesday to get them into arms.
“We’ve lost zero vials so far,” Johnston said.
The Newfane clinic was scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. But Johnston said it opened at about 8:30 a.m. and he anticipated shots would be administered as long as there were people lined up waiting for them.
Those who received their first dose of the vaccine there and others who needed their final shot of the Pfizer vaccine can go to the site for a clinic in three weeks.
At about 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Johnston estimated having more than 50 walk-ins in Newfane. At last count about two weeks ago, his group administered more than 1,600 vaccinations.
On Feb. 5, Rescue began administering vaccinations to homebound Vermonters. The group also provided clinics for teachers from Windham Central Supervisory Union and prison guards. Last week, it had one for the general public at the Old School Community Center in Wilmington.
Johnston would like to offer more vaccinations with no appointments required. At the governor’s regular Tuesday news conference, Health Commissioner Mark Levine said he expects to see walk-in vaccination clinics and other opportunities to make the process more convenient in the future.
Rescue purchased a trailer specifically for administering COVID-19 vaccinations. Johnston said the group renovated it to become a “nice, clean mobile clinic.”
One area in front was being used for registration on Sunday with three stations devoted to administering vaccinations. The layout is designed to provide enough room to keep people distanced and the curtains are for privacy, Johnston said.
A waiting area was set up inside the fire station. Those who were given shots waited 15 to 30 minutes before leaving as part of the normal vaccination protocol.