BREAKING: Saugus puts brakes on school openings


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First responders in Lynn, Nahant, and Saugus received their first dose of Moderna’s new COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday.

At the Lynn Tech Fieldhouse, first responders from the Lynn and Nahant Police and Fire departments, along with Atlantic Ambulance employees, received an early round of the vaccines.

“I’m thrilled to be part of the solution,” said Pauline Coulon, a retired nurse who administered vaccines on Tuesday.

Lynn Fire Capt. Joseph Zukas said 150 people were vaccinated on Tuesday, a process that he said went smoothly.

“The shot itself is very quick,” said Zukas, who reported the first responders were temperature-checked prior to the vaccine, and then monitored for 30 minutes after receiving the shot to see if they had any sort of adverse reaction. No one had a negative response, he said.

However, he did report that some first responders had declined to be vaccinated.

“I’m urging people to get the vaccine,” said Zukas. “The more people that (get) vaccinated, the quicker we can get back to a life without masks and with fewer closures.”

By Friday, he expects that vaccines will be administered to all first responders who want them.

In Saugus, first responders also received their first round of vaccinations Tuesday morning at the town’s Public Safety Building.

Saugus Public Health Director John Fralick said 145 doses of the Moderna vaccine were made available to the town, which partnered with an emergency-preparedness coalition that includes Lynnfield, Reading, and North Reading, with Andover serving as the coalition’s host community. The Moderna vaccine has been shown to be 94 percent effective at preventing COVID-19, and is particularly effective at protecting the elderly.

It differs from the Pfizer vaccine, in that it doesn’t need to be stored at ultra-frozen temperatures. The state released a three-phase distribution plan for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines on Dec. 9, which intends to administer two million doses by the end of March.

Massachusetts is currently in Phase 1 of its vaccination plan, which is focused on health workers, police officers, firefighters, emergency medical services, and those in high-risk, close-contact settings such as shelters, group homes and correctional facilities

Phase 2 is scheduled to begin sometime in February, with individuals deemed high risk for COVID-19 — those with two or more underlying conditions that can complicate a COVID-19 diagnosis — at the top of the list.

It also includes all other essential workers — teachers, transit, grocery, sanitation, utility, food and agriculture — followed by adults 65 and older and those with one complicating health factor. In Phase 3, set to begin in April, the vaccine will be available to the general public.