Week 1 Vaccination Update & Suggestions

Williams Students, Faculty and Staff,

With the start of Phase 3 today, we want to provide information about vaccine registration and transportation.

Please know that patience will be required. There’s exceptionally high demand at the start of Phase 3. Authorities say it will take several weeks for everyone to get their first dose—but we will get it.

Students, if you have questions please contact Student Health Services or your class dean.

Finding and Scheduling an Appointment

To maximize your chance of finding an appointment, search across three websites:

  1. Get Vaccinated Berkshires shows appointments at the county sites: St. Elizabeth’s in North Adams, Berkshire Community College (BCC) in Pittsfield and Dubois Middle School in Great Barrington. Only St. Elizabeth’s and BCC are served by college shuttle.

  2. The state’s Vaxfinder website shows appointments at Walgreen’s, Stop & Shop and other private locations across the state, as well as the county sites listed above.

  3. Pre-registration on the state’s website gives you access to the state’s mass vaccination sites, the nearest of which is in Springfield, 90 minutes away. It doesn’t include any other locations mentioned above.

We know it’s confusing that there are three parallel systems operating in the state, but hopefully this information will help increase your chances of finding a slot soon.

A couple of tips:

  • The county program releases new appointments at 6 p.m. If you get into their electronic “queue” at https://www.maimmunizations.org/ before then, you’ll be given a place in line that gives you priority once the slots become available.
  • You can also check macovidvaccines.com, which aggregates appointments statewide, and @vaccinetime, a Twitter bot that alerts you whenever an appointment becomes available across Massachusetts. If you’re willing and able to travel, these are useful options to consider.

College Shuttles

  • The college shuttles travel to St. Elizabeth’s in North Adams and BCC in Pittsfield only. Here are the site schedules for this week:

– The St. Elizabeth’s clinic will operate Thursday, 12-5 p.m.

– The BCC clinic at BCC will operate Thursday, 12:30-6:30 p.m., and Saturday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

  • The shuttles will serve these locations whenever they’re open. Please reserve a seat after you’ve secured your appointment.
  • We’ll share each week’s clinic schedule as soon as we get it.

Other Transportation Options

  • Public transportation: Students can use public transportation to get to appointments at Stop & Shop, Walgreen’s and Walmart. Several are also within walking or wheeling distance.
  • Livery services: You can also use a livery service to get to a vaccination appointment, as long as you ride alone or with podmates only.
  • Private vehicles: Students can use personal vehicles to get to any location for which a round trip is possible in one day, or can get a ride with a podmate or parent only.
  • As a reminder, you no longer need to request pre-approval for these trips from the deans. Just submit a completed travel form before you leave.
  • Faculty and staff are free to travel to any appointment as needed.

Accessibility

  • This very distributed system poses particular challenges for people with disabilities. If you’re planning to reserve a shuttle ride and depend on an accommodation, please contact Krista Jolin before you reserve your seat. In most cases the accommodations will already be built in, but we’d like to make sure everything’s in place for your ride.
  • The county’s vaccination sites are required to have basic accessibility features in place. If you need to ensure a specific accommodation at one of these locations, please contact Get Vaccinated Berkshires directly.
  • Accessible transportation to other area vaccination sites is available via the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority’s Paratransit service and the livery services mentioned above.

Please look for continuing updates as we learn more. Although the state’s parallel systems can be frustrating, patience and persistence will pay off. The people in our county are doing a good and efficient job of administering all the doses they’re shipped, under tremendous pressure, and I hope you’ll join me in thanking them on your appointment day.

Matt