Vaccinations for Students

On Monday, April 19, Massachusetts moves into vaccination Phase 3, open to anyone 16 or older. This includes students who attend college in MA: You don’t need to be a Massachusetts resident to get vaccinated here, as long as you’re enrolled at Williams.

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.

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.

Your First Shot

You may be given either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine—our county has supplies of both. Both require two doses, administered several weeks apart.

Your Second Shot

After your first dose you’ll be informed of the appointment for your return visit. Repeat the same process, including reserving a shuttle seat again if needed.

Submitting Your Proof of Vaccinated Status

After you get a shot please immediately upload an image of your vaccine card to Health Services’ patient portal or email it to [email protected].

Monitor Your Health

After the vaccine some people experience fatigue, fever, muscle soreness or other symptoms. In most cases these  subside by themselves within a few days. Contact Student Health Services if you have concerns or questions.

Other things you should be aware of:

  • Williams doesn’t have a supply of vaccine and is unable to administer vaccines or to make appointments for students, faculty or staff.
  • It can be difficult to secure your second dose at a different location than your first, so only choose a site you can get to twice.
  • With the exception of those authorized to work and live at Williams this summer, students may not stay on campus past the end of the spring term to await a second dose. If you won’t be done with your shots by late May, please make appointments at your summer destination instead or find alternative housing.

With coronavirus variants present in our region, the college will for now continue to require that everyone, including people who are vaccinated, participate in our testing program to have access to campus, and adhere to all public health requirements, including masking, social distancing and limits on gathering size.

If you’re interested, you can use the state’s weekly vaccination dashboard to track the percentage of Berkshire County residents who’ve received one or both shots.

If you have further questions or concerns, please contact Student Health Services or your class dean.