N.H. Closes 11 Fixed COVID-19 Vaccination Sites
In an old Sears building in Nashua, National Guard, EMS and fire department staff milled about, with not much to do on a recent Wednesday. By noon, around 10 people had come in for a COVID-19 vaccination appointment.
The Nashua site is one of the state’s 11 fixed vaccination sites, which are all ending their operation this week as demand for the vaccine continues to drop. Hundreds of other locations, like pharmacies, and a growing number of primary care providers, continue to offer shots.
The Nashua location, like others across the state, has been slowly phasing out operations and reducing staff.
Warrant Officer Candidate Nicholas Rossetti runs the site. He says while the rate of people showing up slowed, he also had to get rid of gear and keep the site running. “It was a good logistical challenge, and it's cool getting to put those skills in that we all kind of learn in the military. But we were using it in a real world scenario.”
This evening, he says, they'll just have to pack up a few tables and chairs.
This past month, state sites have only been offering second shots, and the number of people coming in has slowed to 50 or so a day at the Nashua location. At its peak, several months ago, that number was nearly 2,000.
The New Hampshire National Guard staffed the sites across the state, which has meant they’ve engaged directly with a lot of Granite Staters they might not normally meet.
Major Lindsey Whelan is the clinical chief nurse at the Nashua site. Looking back, she says she noticed people were nervous due to the military presence at the site. But people started to understand what was going on as their appointments progressed. “I'm a nurse. I have 15 years of clinic experience, I work in the community,” Whelan says.
Whelan and Rossetti say working at the site has been an incredibly rewarding way to serve their community.
The state emergency operations center and joint information center are also closing, after being implemented during the pandemic.