By Danielle Ray, Senior Reporter
Over 1,000 Wachusett Regional School District students 12 years and older have been vaccinated in Rutland, and many more at other clinics and pharmacies and such in the region.
“We believe that it is important to get the 12 plus age group vaccinated because it is one big step closer to completing households, meaning getting the whole family safely vaccinated and protected,” said Rutland firefighter/paramedic Erin Cullinane, who helps administer the vaccine at the collaborative clinic.
The Centers for Disease Control officially recommended Pfizer’s vaccine for children ages 12 to 15 on May 12, making about 400,000 kids in the state eligible for it. Twelve-year-old Thomas Prince School sixth grader Luke Hughes received his first COVID-19 vaccine in Rutland on May 20.
“The reason I wanted the vaccine is because it decreases the chance I will get COVID, and I don’t want to wear a mask anymore,” Luke said. “I just want to get back to normal!”
Fifteen-year-old Princeton resident Renée Rainville got her first Pfizer vaccine dose on May 18 at the Rutland clinic and the second one June 8. Her mother Christine Rainville was worried about side effects, as her daughter has a history of passing out after getting shots.
“She did great,” Christine Rainville said, “especially happy to get a follow up treat from Dunkin Donuts.”
Cullinane said the clinics are going “very well overall.”
“Everyone that we have vaccinated so far is so happy and thankful to receive their vaccines,” she said. “We have received many thoughtful thank you notes, and many kind people have been dropping off lunch, coffee, treats to the staff to say thank you.”
Approximately 50,000 COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Rutland to date to eligible state residents.
“Our plan is to end our daily vaccine clinics at the end of June, then reopen our clinics in late July, early August for any kids that turn 12 over the summer so that they can be vaccinated before school resumes,” Cullinane said. “The Rutland Vaccine Team is so happy to be a key player in vaccinating Central Massachusetts. It has been awesome to see the 12 and over kids come into the vaccine clinic looking happy and excited to be doing their part in keeping the community healthy and safe.”