Covid-19 vaccine doses are in good supply on the Vineyard right now, after a dip in availability that sent many Islanders to the mainland for their first jabs earlier this month. “The supply this week is robust, so if folks want to sign up we have appointments for [Thursday] right through Sunday,” Martha’s Vineyard Hospital chief nurse and operating officer Claire Seguin said Wednesday night, during an online public forum hosted by Dukes County and the Communication Ambassador Partnership of Martha’s Vineyard.

Those who went off-Island for their first dose during the shortage are welcome to schedule their second here, Ms. Seguin added.

“We’re sorry had to go to off island for dose one. That was just a supply chain issue. But we’re happy to offer you dose two here so you don’t have to take a ferry,” she said.

New appointments are released Saturdays at 8 a.m. and Mondays at 5 p.m., coordinating with vaccine deliveries, Ms. Seguin said. But with the ready supply of doses currently on hand, she said, “you can pretty much log in any time and be able to get them.”

To date, Ms. Seguin said, the hospital has administered 17,000 vaccinations with no significant issues.

“People are doing very well with the vaccines,” she said, citing Dukes County data showing that 59 per cent of Island residents have received one dose and 39 per cent have had two doses.

As the number of vaccinated Islanders has risen, so has the proportion of black and African American, Asian and Brazilian residents to receive the vaccine, Ms. Seguin said.

“I would say it’s never enough, we can always do better, but I am encouraged that as we vaccinate more people, the number of people from several races . . . rise up with the total amount of vaccinations that we give,” she said.

Chilmark health agent and Island contact tracing co-coordinator Marina Lent urged Vineyard residents to get fully vaccinated as soon as they can, in order to reach herd immunity before the summer influx.

“We need to vaccinate as many people as possible as as quickly as possible,” Ms. Lent said. “That is really the key to having a successful summer.”

Herd immunity means a large enough majority of people in the community are vaccinated that an infected person can’t cause an outbreak, Ms. Lent said. “If we are below that herd immunity threshold we will invite ongoing disease transmission,” she said. “And even though we currently do have a good start on vaccination on Martha’s Vineyard, we’re nowhere close yet.”

Dave Caron, the hospital’s director of pharmacy, spoke about the safety and efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccines.

The difference between older-style vaccines and the messenger RNA (mRNA) technology used in the Covid-19 vaccine, he said, is like the difference between dial-up internet and wi-fi.

“They’re both going to work, but one is faster,” he said.

Mr. Caron also cited clinical studies on the Covid-19 vaccines from Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, indicating low risks and high protection.

“Every single one of those vaccines shows 100 per cent protection from hospitalizations and deaths,” he said.

Mr. Caron also sought to debunk worries about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which will soon be available on the Vineyard following a pause in its distribution.

To get the doses, the hospital is partnering with Island Health Care, the Vineyard’s only federally qualified health clinic, whose chief clinical officer Kathleen Samways said during the forum that once the clinic receives the vaccines, the hospital is notified and the doses transferred within half an hour.

Sarah Kuh, director of Vineyard Health Care Access, reminded Islanders that the vaccine is available to everyone, with no payment or identification required and regardless of immigration status.

“We have a great team of people on the island that will make everyone feel comfortable,” Ms. Kuh said. “Please come and get your vaccine.”

Brian Morris, a community health worker with Island Health Care, talked about ways of reaching more Islanders with the vaccine message, and West Tisbury health agent Omar Johnson participated in the forum via a video in which he busted a laundry list of myths about the vaccine.

Among them: It does not contain eggs, gelatin or latex, and the vial stoppers don’t use latex either, Mr. Johnson said. And because it contains no virus, it can’t infect someone with Covid-19.

The hour-long forum, on Zoom and Facebook, was moderated by Laurel Redington of MVY Radio, with Dora Koumbis translating for Portuguese-speaking listeners and Lorena Crespo interpreting for Spanish speakers.

A recording of the event has been posted at