As Covid-19 cases continue on a downward trajectory this fall, the six Martha’s Vineyard boards of health are now poised to revisit the question of mandatory indoor mask mandates on the Island.

The boards of health planned to meet at noon Friday by Zoom; the sole agenda item is the mandatory indoor mask mandate that took effect August 20. Since that date, face coverings have been required in all indoor spaces from government offices to yoga studios to retail stores. At the time, the Island was experiencing a significant spike in Covid cases fueled by the Delta variant.

This fall the case numbers have been up and down, but mostly on the wane. Twelve cases were reported for the week ending Oct. 30, and only a handful have been confirmed since.

“Based on our lower case numbers the boards of health will meet to review and discuss the mask mandate and whether to lift or keep it in place,” Tisbury health agent Maura Valley said in an email to the Gazette Thursday. “It appears that people are split on whether the mandate should be lifted or not,” she also wrote. “We’ve heard from several individuals who feel that the mandates are no longer justifiable with our current numbers, while others feel that our case numbers are low because of the mask mandates.”

Ms. Valley has been the designated public spokesman for the boards of health throughout the pandemic; among other things she compiles the daily and weekly records on case counts along with other information.

Meanwhile, pediatric Covid-19 vac cines will be available for Island children aged 5-11 beginning next week, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital leaders announced in a press briefing Wednesday morning.

Appointment scheduling began on Thursday this week.

The announcement came in the wake of a recommendation issued late Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control for the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine for children 5 through 11.

The Food and Drug Administration had previously authorized emergency use of the pediatric dose earlier last Friday.

The first pediatric vaccines will be administered on Martha’s Vineyard on Thursday, Nov. 11 and Saturday Nov. 13 at the hospital drive-through tent. Appointments can be booked using the online tool on the hospital website, which went live at 5 p.m. Thursday.

Hospital chief executive officer Denise Schepici and chief nurse and chief operating officer Clare Seguin said they were optimistic about the prospect of vaccinating even more of the eligible Island population as the Vineyard heads into the winter months, and Covid cases continue to decline.

Ms. Schepici and Ms. Seguin said the hospital is following all recommended guidelines by the CDC for the newly-available pediatric vaccines, which are a one third dose of the adult Pfizer dose.

About 1,200 Vineyard children are eligible to receive the vaccine, Ms. Seguin said. And she encouraged parents to vaccinate their children.

“Definitely I am encouraging five to 11-year-olds to get vaccinated,” the chief

nursing officer said. “Children are getting Covid and they’re getting sick.” Appointments remain available for booster shots too, and Ms. Schepici said many eligible Islanders are lining up for their third shots. The hospital is offering boosters shots for Pfizer, Moderna and the Johnson Johnson vaccine for people who are eligible. (Pfizer and Moderna: must be over 65 or meet other criteria and have had a shot at least six months earlier. JJ: must be 18 or older and have had a shot within two months. Detailed criteria is spelled out on the hospital website.)

“We are filling every [booster shot] appointment we release,” Ms. Schepici said. “I think we are going at a pace.” She encouraged eligible people seeking booster shots to check the hospital website frequently, as spaces open up.

Ms. Seguin also reported the Island passed a 30,000-shot milestone this week for vaccines administered.

She reported a total of 14,563 people had received a first shot, while 14,744 people had received a second shot, and 1,263 had received a booster shot.

In other brief news, Ms. Schepici said business continues to be brisk at the Island’s only hospital after a busy summer. “Things are very busy. People are still catching up on a lot of deferred care, we are doing surgeries and filling up appointments rapidly,” she said.