The first person to get vaccinated at the van in Portsmouth on Wednesday morning was a woman who gave birth to a baby girl on Saturday.

"I didn't do it when I was pregnant, I should have, so I'm here," Carrie Carpenter, of Greenland, said.

Carpenter appeared a little nervous as her vaccine was being prepared but since she just had a baby, she wasn't, and she was happy because she felt as if she was protecting both the infant and her four-year-old child.

Robert Piccirilli, of Portsmouth, had an appointment to get a vaccine on Thursday elsewhere but figured he would take advantage of the opportunity to get his shot right there in Market Square.

Photo by Kimberley Haas

"I'm not a huge fan of needles," Piccirilli admitted.

A total of 10 people were vaccinated within five hours. Six of them got the Johnson & Johnson shot. Four got either Moderna or Pfizer.

Portsmouth's Deputy Health Officer Kristin Shaw said they started the program because they wanted to make sure they reach as many people as possible.

"This is for travelers coming through, new employees, new people to the area who may not have had access," Shaw said.

When Shaw was told about Carpenter's decision to get vaccinated at the van, she said, "Great for her!"

Photo by Kimberley Haas

The vaccination van will be in Portsmouth every Wednesday until Sept. 15, according to Public Information Officer Stephanie Seacord.

"They have all three vaccines, so if you are between the ages of 12 and 18 you can get the Pfizer shots," Seacord said on Tuesday of preteens and teens accompanied by a parent.

According to a press release, the van will be parked in Market Square between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. to provide free vaccinations to anyone who asks for one. Translation services will also be available.

The NH Department of Health and Human Services launched the Mobile Vaccination Van on July 15, in partnership with ConvenientMD, as a new initiative to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines in New Hampshire. The van is available upon request for groups of all sizes and they will provide free vaccination clinics in communities throughout the state.

Seacord said for answers to frequently asked questions about the vaccine, people can click here.

Contact Managing News Editor Kimberley Haas at Kimberley.Haas@townsquaremedia.com.

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