From left, Robert Brisard receives a vaccination from NorthStar’s Steve Smith at a pop-up vaccination clinic run by Franklin Community Health Network at Ambition Brewing in Wilton on Friday, June 4. Seven people were vaccinated at the first of what the brewery owners plan to be a monthly pop-up event. Photo courtesy of Ryan Mastrangelo

WILTON — Franklin Community Health Network (FCHN) hosted a pop-up vaccine clinic on Friday, June 4, at an atypical location: a brewery. Ambition Brewing in Wilton hosted a vaccine clinic with an added perk: individuals who received the vaccine at the clinic were offered a free drink, paid for by owners Jeff Chaisson and Josh Michaud. It was the first vaccine clinic of what Chaisson said will be a monthly event.

“(FCHN) reached out to us looking for interesting places to do this, maybe bring out a different crowd or attract more people,” Chaisson said. “I think it’s fun. These are the times.”

FCHN has hosted a number of vaccine clinics in unique places to push vaccination rates higher in the county and region, including clinics at public schools and the University of Maine at Farmington. Barb Sergio, chief operating officer at FCHN, said that the health network has so far vaccinated 385 students in regional districts, including RSU 9.

“We’re doing community outreaches,” said Ryan Mastrangelo, FCHN’s director of communications and public affairs. “We’re trying to get to people where they’re already at instead of making them come to us.”

FCHN chose Ambition Brewing as a pop-up clinic location because they were looking for locations where people flock as the weather gets nicer.

“We know that Mainers love their beer and their local brews,” Mastrangelo said.

Ambition Brewing was the first brewery where FCHN ran a clinic. There will be another clinic at Tumbledown Brewing on Saturday, June 12. Sergio also said that there are plans for a vaccine clinic in downtown Farmington on the Fourth of July.

While Ambition Brewing was offering free drinks, Mastrangelo said that the people who received their vaccinations came specifically for the clinic.

That includes Kevin Adair, a Fayette resident who was looking for a site that offered the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Adair said he had gone to a couple other clinics and had trouble finding a site where he didn’t need a second dose. He came to Ambition because “it was close and it was the one shot,” though he said he’d take a can of Ambition Brewing’s beer for the road.

FCHN vaccinated a total of seven people at Ambition Brewing, which Mastrangelo considers “a success because we have one more person who wasn’t vaccinated before.”

“We’re happy to get as many arms as possible to get vaccinated,” she said.

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