vaccine doses AP

Berskhire’s local vaccine coordinator said the state allocated the county a large number of second dose vaccines but fewer than usual first doses, which means local clinics will only be able to open up a “limited” number of spots.

Local vaccine coordinators will open up a “very limited” number of first-dose appointments after receiving a delayed and smaller-than-usual allocation of doses.

The slots will go live at noon today Wednesday, the Berkshire Vaccine collaborative announced at getvaccinatedberkshires.org. The appointments would be for sometime this week.

“[We’re] still hoping we’ll see more, at least for next week, if not this week,” said Laura Kittross, one of the group’s leaders and director of the Berkshire County Boards of Health Association.

Kittross said the county received a “very large allocation” of second Pfizer doses, after a successful effort several weeks ago to vaccinate large numbers of people who were eligible in the first group of Phase Two.

The shipment of doses that will be used for the new first-dose clinics is made up entirely of Moderna vaccines, she said.

“We have not gotten a Pfizer allocation for first doses this week, I assume due to the very large second-dose allocation,” Kittross said.

The dose allocation notification arrived several days later than usual due to winter storms at two major vaccine shipping hubs in other parts of the country, which postponed delivery of the vaccines to the commonwealth.

The delay hit as about 1 million people statewide became eligible, causing widespread frustration for both local vaccine coordinators and county residents, as only a handful of people 65 and older or with two or more comorbidities have been able to register for a clinic. As of last week, Berkshire County had received more cumulative doses per capita than any other part of the state, excluding the Boston area, where vaccines first arrive when they are shipped to the state. As of Feb. 16, the county had enough cumulative doses to cover nearly 22 percent of the population, though a significant portion of those were second doses.

In the early weeks of Phase Two, large first-dose Pfizer allocations, and the “extra” doses contained within each vial, helped the county race ahead of the state.

Francesca Paris can be reached at fparis@berkshireeagle.com and 510-207-2535.

Francesca Paris covers North Adams for The Berkshire Eagle. A California native and Williams College alumna, she has worked at NPR in Washington, D.C. and WBUR in Boston, as a news reporter, producer and editor. Find her on Twitter at @fparises.