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‘Vax Bus’ rolls out across Massachusetts to provide vaccines

June 26, 2021 GMT

Massachusetts is rolling out vaccination clinics on wheels aimed at protecting more people against against the coronavirus.

Two buses, dubbed the Vax Bus, will be traveling across the state beginning Saturday through July 15 to administer vaccines in nearly two dozen communities.

State officials say the Vax Bus will spend a day or two in each community and host one to three vaccine clinics a day. Vaccines will be administered on the bus and no appointment is necessary.

The Vax Bus is scheduled to stop at locations in communities including Attleboro, Brockton, Pittsfield and Springfield.

More than 80% of adults in Massachusetts have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine and more than 4 million residents are fully vaccinated, according to state officials.

The Vax Bus schedule can be found at: mass.gov/VaxBus.

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In other pandemic-related news around the region:

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NEW HAMPSHIRE

New Hampshire residents are divided on whether a business requiring customers to wear a mask will impact their likelihood of shopping, according to a new poll.

A total of 17% of residents polled said that requiring a mask would make them much more likely to shop at the business, and 10% said it would make them somewhat more likely. A total of 19% said it would make them much less likely to shop there, and 11% said it would make them somewhat less likely. Forty-three percent said it makes no difference.

Nearly half of Democrats polled — 47% — said that a business requiring customers to wear a mask would make them more likely to shop there. But just over half of Republicans — 51% — said that this would make them less likely to shop there.

The findings are based on a Granite State Poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. A total of 1,602 people completed an online survey between June 17 and June 21. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.

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VERMONT

Officials at the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles are still trying to determine how services will be offered to the public in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

All COVID-19 restrictions were lifted earlier this month after Vermont vaccinated more than 80% of the eligible population, but a number of DMV offices across the state remain closed.

WCAX-TV reports the DMV has increased the services it offers online. “DMV is assessing whether returning to the previous operational schedule for the satellite offices is still effective and efficient for customers and the State.”

The DMV has been administering road tests since last summer and locations in Bennington, Montpelier, Newport, Rutland, South Burlington, and Springfield are open for in-person services now.

No final decisions have been made about how DMV will operate in the future.

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MAINE

Officials from St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center say new state data showing the hospital at the bottom of the pack when it comes to vaccination rates is skewed.

Data recently released by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services show the Lewiston hospital with the lowest vaccination rate out of the state’s 38 hospitals at 52%. Nearly 75% of all hospital workers across Maine are fully vaccinated.

St. Mary’s spokesperson Steve Costello tells The Sun Journal that the vaccination rate among full-time staff is actually about 65%, and the hospital wrongly included students and volunteers who are no longer active. Costello says the data will be fixed when it submits new numbers next month.

Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Nirav Shah said earlier this week that the vaccination rates for St. Mary’s and Central Maine Medical Center — the second lowest — were “concerning.”

Central Maine Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Alexander said he also thinks the hospital’s true vaccination rate is higher than the 58% reflected in the state data.