PROVIDENCE — The St. Martin de Porres Center served as the site of a recent Moderna Vaccine Clinic to provide first, second or booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to local residents and first responders.
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St. Martin de Porres Center Director Linda A’vant-Deishini said she was pleased with the turnout from members of the senior community who participate in senior programs.
“I’m seeing so many folks from the community and that’s good,” she said. “The more we can get the word out to the community, the more folks get vaccinated and the faster we can get back to our real lives again. The more people we can get vaccinated the safer it’s going to be.”
A’vant-Deishini credits the Rhode Island Department of Health with helping to keep those who visit the diocesan senior center safe.
“The Health Department has helped us out a lot by giving us masks and hand sanitizer to keep folks safe,” she added.
Mary Reid has been coming to the center regularly for about five years.
When she heard the Moderna Vaccination Clinic was being held at St. Martin de Porres she made sure to register for an appointment to receive her booster shot.
“I don’t want to get exposed to anybody,” she said, noting how she enjoys her time at the center taking part in sewing, social activities and Bible study offered there.
She said she had only a mild reaction from her first two doses and was hoping her booster would follow suit.
“The first ones just made my arm just a little sore, but other than that it was worth it,” she said.
About 110 individuals signed up in advance to receive their booster doses of Moderna, which were given to those who qualified by having received two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, and at least 40 others arrived as walk-ins to receive their immunization.
Providence Emergency Management Director Clare Decerbo, who was on-hand for the event, said the St. Martin de Porres Center was an ideal place to hold a vaccination clinic in the South Providence area.
“It is centrally located, easily accessible by bus, and has a high concentration of underserved communities,” Decerbo said. “It’s a great site, with plenty of room and area to wait, with one way in and one way out, so it has a good flow. They also held their food pantry this morning, so we timed it to coincide with that so we would also be able to serve a number of walk-ins from the community.”
“I think it’s really exciting that we are able to give the booster shots right now. It’s really important that anybody who has not been vaccinated or has been waiting to get vaccinated get their first shot and the second shot, and also get their flu shot.”
A mix of local community members arrived for the four-hour clinic, along with Providence Police and firefighters who were eligible for their booster shots.
Jose Deschamps, a Providence Police Officer assigned to Motorcycle 3, lined up to receive his Moderna booster shot.
“This is my third shot. It was painless, thank God,” he joked
“The more people that get vaccinated, hopefully the better handle we’ll have on what’s going on. We lost a good friend of ours who was not vaccinated — it was his choice — but he caught COVID. Hopefully, more people will see the light.”
Firefighter EMT Derrick Campbell, of Providence Ladder 2, administered the shot to Deschamps. He said he’s glad to answer his chief’s call to serve in this capacity.
“I’m glad to do this as much as I can and I wish more people would come,” he said.
Firefighter EMT Marc Thibault, of Engine 14, said that those lining up for what they hope will be life-saving protection from COVID-19 are definitely happy to see the first responders administering the vaccine.
“It’s going to prevent the spread and obviously save lives,” Thibault said. “As they say, ‘an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.’”