Local Government and Politics, News

Nahant achieves vaccination milestone

This article was published 2 year(s) and 4 month(s) ago.

NAHANT — The town is celebrating a pandemic milestone this week with the news that 67 percent of residents are now fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. 

“When you compare it to the rest of the state data, we’re a little bit ahead of the game,” said Public Health Nurse Deb Murphy. “In fact, if you look at our population that’s aged 60 and older, our numbers are much higher than that.”

For comparison, 51 percent of Massachusetts residents have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 as of May 27. 

According to state data available for nearby communities, as of May 21, Lynn had fully vaccinated 41 percent of its residents, while Revere had fully vaccinated 47 percent. As of May 25, Peabody had fully vaccinated 48 percent of its residents. 

“We’re doing really well in that regard,” said Town Administrator Antonio Barletta. “We are extremely proud of our residents and the effort that they’ve put in to get vaccinated. We’re also very thankful to the City of Lynn for their (vaccine clinic) partnership, which has helped tremendously.”

Nahant’s total positive COVID-19 case count since the pandemic began last March stands at 253, with nine deaths. 

The town, which has a population of around 3,500 residents, has not reported a single case of COVID-19 since May 5. 

“We’re getting there,” Murphy said, adding that in Nahant’s 65-74 age group, a whopping 95 percent have already been vaccinated. 

She credited the feat to Nahant’s many public health resources — including the town’s partnership with Lynn as well as its vaccination helpline — which was developed in January to assist elderly residents in signing up for the COVID-19 vaccine, but ultimately saw wide-reaching success. 

Meant to reduce reported confusion surrounding vaccination sign-ups for Nahant’s elderly population, the program gave all residents the option to call any of four specially-designated phone numbers — staffed by town employees and volunteers — to be taken on a step-by-step walkthrough of the process. 

“The call center went into effect as soon as vaccines became available,” Murphy said. “It was so difficult for people to access the system, so these (volunteers) were right there from the get-go, and that was amazing because they helped so many of our older residents get that vaccine as soon as it was available.”

She also commended the town for what she described as “excellent” communication with residents when it came to COVID-19 cases and vaccine updates. 

“Communication is key,” she said. 

Things are looking up for the town’s younger populations, too. 

Despite the fact Massachusetts opened up vaccines to children ages 12 to 15 just last week, Nahant has already provided 35 of its youths with their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

“Swampscott High School had a clinic last Friday for kids ages 12 and older, and we were able to get Nahant students to be a part of that as well,” Murphy said. “They can’t be fully vaccinated yet because they have to wait three weeks for the second dose, but to see that turn out in the first week (is great).”

Murphy said she’s “cautiously optimistic” about the news, adding it brought a “feeling of relief” to many local public health workers. 

“We’re in such a better place now, one year later. We’re seeing the curve finally start to go down,” she said. “We’re seeing things start to reopen, the kids are in school now, and they don’t need their masks at recess. 

“It’s such a big relief that all of this hard work that so many people have been doing for a year, we’re finally getting to see positive results.”

More Stories From Nahant