Lucie Consentino is still upset with what she calls major disorganization Wednesday at the Danvers, Massachusetts, mass COVID-19 vaccination site.
A rumor that extra doses were available had brought out a lot of people eager to be vaccinated, many of whom waited in line in vain.
"They told us to do this. They had to expect a lot of people were going to come," said Consentino, an 84-year-old from Peabody on Thursday.
Consentino was at the DoubleTree Hotel vaccination site to get her shot, which she had an appointment for, when the organizers made an announcement, she recalled.
"The announcement was that they did not want to throw out any vaccines that they had, so we should call our family and friends and tell them to come. If they got there by 4 p.m. they would be vaccinated," she said.
Consentino said she called her two daughters to come. They stood in line for a very long time, only to be turned away.
"How disappointing," Consentino said. "My daughters left work to be able to go and I'm sure everybody else did."
Even more upsetting, she said, is that some young people not even qualified to be vaccinated were able to get vaccinated later in the night.
"I just find it so unfortunate they turned all those people away but yet last night they gave our vaccines to people who just showed up," Consentino said.
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Others have voiced frustrations.
"I've not only been shuffled down the line as a public school educator once. I've now showed up here," said Deborah Gesualdo on Wednesday. "It's cold, it's hard to park and I've been told, 'No, you can't get vaccinated.'"
On Thursday, we went inside the hotel to ask Curative, the organizer of the clinic, about what happened. They wouldn't talk on-site, but the company later released a statement saying it had extra doses available Wednesday because some people had canceled their appointments due to inclement weather, and that an offer was made to "patients who were already registered with appointments later in the week to come to the Danvers location to receive their dose."
Gov. Charlie Baker addressed the issue Thursday, cautioning that offering vaccines to those who did not book appointments creates confusion and urging providers to manage their supply so that they don’t have significant numbers of unused doses.
By Thursday afternoon, there was another line outside the hotel as seniors and their buddies waited to get the vaccine.
Baker said earlier in the day that, if you don't have an appointment, you won't get vaccinated, but we found the opposite. The buddies were allowed to register on-site as long as they were with someone 75 and up.
"I was just planning on bringing them and the they changed that rule yesterday about having a buddy system. And I said I'll just ask and they said, sure," one woman said.
Diane Melchionno said her husband got vaccinated without an appointment.
"He was able to come without an appointment and got registered and it was wonderful that he could get a shot," she said.
Curative released this statement:
On February 10, a total of 1,801 doses were delivered to patients. Some additional doses were available for administration, and to avoid doses going to waste, Curative offered patients who were already registered with appointments later in the week to come to the Danvers location to receive their dose. Curative handled the high interest and demand from patients to move their appointment time and receive their dose early by creating two lanes: one for patients with existing appointments for February 10, and those with an appointment for a future date, but with interest to be vaccinated on February 10.
Additional doses were available due to the cancellation of appointments from previous days largely due to inclement weather. The Curative team manages the inventory of available doses and appointments closely and does not foresee excess doses moving forward. However, in case of high patient volumes in the future new operational protocols have been put into place to accommodate additional patients inside of the DoubleTree. Furthermore, we request patients remain in their cars until their appointment window to keep patients and staff safe.
To date, Curative has provided more than 7,000 vaccines at the Danvers DoubleTree vaccination location. Curative appreciates the collaboration with the DoubleTree team and local partners to ensure that we can increase the number of individuals vaccinated each day and create a safe location for patients and staff.