Vaccination Questions

Senator Cindy Friedman has been deeply involved in the state’s planning for vaccination as a member of the State’s COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group. She sent the helpful message below to her constituents.

Dear Friends,
 
In recent weeks, I have heard from so many constituents inquiring about the status of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in the Commonwealth. I appreciate you reaching out on this issue, and I understand that many people are anxious, confused, or frustrated with the vaccine rollout. As a member of the State’s COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group, I can provide some context about the vaccine distribution plan. I also want to share some of the latest data about who has been vaccinated to try to shed some light on where we are in the process.
First, some context:
 
In October of last year, a COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group was formed by the state to advance the Commonwealth’s efforts to prepare to distribute a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. I was appointed to this Advisory Group, which is comprised of medical professionals, public health experts, community leaders, infectious disease specialists, and other elected officials. Our task is to advise the Administration, including the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and the COVID-19 Command Center, on communication, distribution, and equity issues relating to a COVID-19 vaccine.
 
Recognizing that the number of vaccines available to Massachusetts will be limited for some time, our Advisory Group’s approach to recommending a statewide, multi-phase vaccine distribution plan was formed by a simple concept – we can best reduce the number of deaths from COVID-19 and reduce the risk of overwhelming our health care system by identifying: (1) those who are most likely to die from the virus; and (2) those who are critically needed to take care of COVID-19 patients and other vulnerable populations. We provided guidance to the Baker Administration based on this concept, understanding that the plan would need to be flexible to allow for future changes in CDC guidance, to help facilitate the return of children to the classroom, to keep essential businesses and services operating, etc.
 
How does this concept apply to the multi-phase vaccine rollout?

In Phase 1 (December 2020 – February 2021), the focus is on vaccinating: Front-facing health care providers and workers who care for and come in contact with COVID-19 patients; Those living and working in long-term care facilities, rest homes, and assisted living facilities; First responders: police, fire, and emergency medical services personnel; Those living and working in congregate care settings; and Home-based health care workers and other health care workers.  Then in the upcoming Phase 2 (February – March 2021) the plan is to vaccinate: Those with 2+ comorbidities (i.e., high-risk for COVID-19 complications), individuals age 75+, and residents and staff of public and private low-income and affordable senior housing; Essential workers in education settings, grocery stores, transit workers, etc.; and Individuals age 65+ and those individuals with one co-morbidity. Phase 3 (starting April 2021) will open vaccination to everyone else.
 
Residents may fit into multiple phases, with the higher phase taking precedent. For example, if you are under the age of 75 but also work as a first responder, you are in Phase 1 because of your status as a first responder. If you are not at high-risk for COVID-19 complications, but you work as an essential worker, you are in Phase 2.
Click here for a complete breakdown of all the population groups included in each Phase in order of priority.
Despite the published multi-phase plan, much will change over the course of the next few weeks and months about our understanding of the virus and its variants, the number of different vaccines that will be available and their effectiveness, and the manufacturing and delivery schedules of those vaccines. We will need to adapt to these changes along the way. So far, the Commonwealth has taken a measured, science- and data-driven approach to ensure a fair and controlled vaccine rollout based on these phases. Unlike some other states, we didn’t abruptly change course and begin offering the vaccine before Phase 2 to those 65 and older, as a number of states did this week based on promises from the outgoing Trump administration that stockpiles of vaccines were being released imminently. As it turns out, we’ve learned just yesterday that those stockpiles don’t exist, which is leaving many of those states scrambling to ensure sufficient vaccines for those in Phase 1.
Next, some data:
 
How is Phase 1 progressing in Massachusetts?

The Baker Administration provides a weekly COVID-19 vaccination report on its website.
Check out the latest report by clicking here.
As you can see, as of this report, which uses data through January 12, Massachusetts has: Received 142,350 Pfizer doses from the federal government; Received 205,100 Moderna doses from the federal government; and Administered 239,147 doses to individuals in Phase 1. Shipments are received on a rolling basis and then distributed to vaccination sites, so there will always be a gap between doses received and doses administered, reflecting transit time within the state, and the time required to administer the vaccinations. But as you can see from the latest data, a large portion (~68%) of the limited number of vaccines that the state has received have already been administered. This process will continue to ramp up on an ongoing basis.
Some thoughts about the weeks and months ahead:
 
The incoming Biden Administration has pledged to dramatically ramp up the purchasing and distribution of vaccines, and has suggested that these efforts will allow states to begin vaccinating everyone 65 and older. If and when we are certain that accelerated vaccine shipments are in the pipeline for Massachusetts, the state may be able to make changes to our vaccine distribution plan. I will keep you updated as any changes become public.
 
In the meantime, we must put all our energy into getting the vaccine rollout right so that we can get vaccines to those “next in line” as quickly as possible. As I mentioned earlier, Massachusetts has a measured, science- and data-driven vaccine distribution plan in place – it’s not perfect, but it can be flexible and it acknowledges that there will continue to be limited quantities of the vaccine available to our state at any given time. We need to stay the course so residents have confidence that the vaccine distribution will occur efficiently, fairly, and safely.
 
I hope this information is helpful and explains my perspective. I am happy to discuss this further. I know these are very challenging times. Everyone is doing the best they can to make the best decisions in a terrible situation. Please know that I understand how hard it is to wait – I wish I could be vaccinated now, but I will wait my turn with the other 65+ individuals!
Stay safe and be well.

Cindy

Cindy Friedman

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

Join the Conversation

81 Comments

  1. As someone who is in Phase 2 (grocery store worker) does the lack of the stockpile have an effect on me getting the vaccine next month?

    1. I am in the 65+ group. I am grateful to know WHEN to expect my vaccine and I agree with my place in line. I would feel less anxious if I knew the HOW which includes things like where, expected signup process, etc. I know things change but some understanding of the process and how it relates to me and my group would be helpful. I would hope this has been established already or has been significantly completed or our group is in for much angst and confusion we our time comes.

      1. This the key question that everyone not in Phase I is asking: “When, how, where . . . and who will tell me?”

        The answer from the administration is roughly this: “We will let you know. The word will be going out through all the channels we can use to reach each group. We are doing things in order and are focused on Phase I, but the word will be going out about Phase 2 as we approach vaccine availability for Phase 2.”

        So, it’s sort of “trust us,” but I think that is as good an answer as we can get at this stage.

        The vaccine plan does provide high level information as to the intended settings in which vaccinations will occur.

        /w.

  2. I’m concerned about the people who are having adverse effects from the vaccine. There have been many accounts of people getting severely sick. I’m concerned this information is and will continue to be suppressed. How will we insure this information is not buried? Informed consent is a must.

    1. So many people are receiving the vaccine that, statistically speaking, it is inevitable that some of them will experience adverse health events shortly after being vaccinated unrelated to the vaccine. Some of the reports of adverse events being hyped by irresponsible media fall into this category.

      There have also been some adverse health events which may be legitimately linked to the vaccine, but it is simply inaccurate to say that there have been “many” of them, especially given that nearly 11 million people have received at least one does of the vaccine. The number of adverse health events is vanishingly small compared to that huge number, and it remains 100% true that you are at far greater risk of illness from Covid than you are of illness from the Covid vaccine.

      Please do not spread misinformation to the contrary.

      1. Correction: nearly 11 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine in the United States. The number of people who have been vaccinated worldwide is much higher. (Also, sorry about the typo above.)

  3. I find it interesting that the boston hospital were I am a patient already is sending out information on when we will get the vaccine. Yet my mother who lives in Western Mass and has multi-heath issues and is 74. She can not get it at all from her health management doctor’s office as they told her they do not have any to give out. I have also heard this from other people in western mass. I grew up in Western Mass and live in Boston now. So I am learning about this issue from different points of view. They only recently started taking people who wanted to know if they had the virsus in Greenfield. The only other places that had testing in the four counties in Western mass were Holyoke and Northampton. Does not do much for those living North Adams or Stockbridge. There no real public transportation between the four counties. So my question is why is the boston area getting more of the vaccine and testing then Western Mass. It does not look like it is being evenly distributed in the state.

    1. One anecdotal story is insufficient to prove a claim that “it does not look like it is being evenly distributed in the state.” Another feasible explanation is that the public health personnel in western Massachusetts have the vaccine but are doing a worse job of distributing it than the people in Boston. Note that because of how Massachusetts handles public health in general, much of the responsibility for distributing the vaccine falls on public health personnel in each county rather than on the state.

      Furthermore, Boston is being much harder hit by Covid right now than many other parts of the state, and if our goal is to reduce the spread of the virus, then it makes sense to prioritize vaccinating people where the spread of the virus is worse.

      Furthermore, even ignoring the surrounding towns like Cambridge, Somerville, etc., Boston has 10% of the population of the entire state, so even if the vaccine were being distributed solely on the basis of population, which would be an entirely rational and logically way to distribute it, then Boston would be getting 10% of all available doses, and the greater Boston area, with a population of nearly five million people, would be getting significantly more than that (the entire state of Massachusetts has less than seven million inhabitants).

  4. Is there any idea about when gathering size restrictions will be relaxed, and how that will happen in conjunction with the vaccine distribution by phases? For instance, will gathering size automatically increase once we get to phase 3? What are the metrics anticipated for making those decisions?

    1. There are multiple metrics, but my sense is that the administration is most heavily guided by hospital capacity — trying to maintain a safe cushion so that we never get to the point of rationing care.

      There a lot of unknowns, so no one is making any promises as to when restrictions should be relaxed and many are urging that they should be further tightened (I fall in that camp).

  5. I am a 69 year old recently retired ICU nurse. I would gladly volunteer to administer vaccines if I could be vaccinated prior to having contact with the public. Who should I contact??

  6. Thank you for sharing the post. It has answered a number of my questions. One follow-up, did or will the State and CDC consider further age stratification? Currently, individuals 75+ years-old per the CDC are in Phase 1b, while Massachusetts has prioritized this group first in Phase II. The risk of death for 85+ year-olds is 630x greater risk of death and 13 times higher hospitalization than the comparison group (18-29). For reference, for 75-84 year-olds, the risk of death is 220x higher.

    Reference: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/older-adults.html

    Many 85+ individuals live independently. It is a grave oversight that these individuals are not in phase I. I understand they are better protected than those in nursing homes or congregate care settings who have no choice but to be in close proximity to others. However, the risk of death and hospitalizations is significant. Additionally, it is a challenge for families and others to support this vulnerable population – even with precautions – because of the fear they may give that person COVID and the disastrous predicted outcomes.

    1. Hi Lisa, right or wrong, prioritizing those in congregate care over those others who are 85+ was a very conscious judgement by the advisory group as to who is at greatest risk. I just hope we are able to maintain an aggressive an accelerating vaccine pipeline. We have to get through the scarcity phase as quickly as possible to the point where all have access. We are dependent on the pharma companies to come through.

  7. Thanks for the update. I am a dentist and my colleagues and I are very frustrated that we are at the bottom of Phase 1 after prisoners and harbormasters. Our patients literally breathe onto our faces every day when we are at work. How much longer do we have to wait? We are in a high risk group and are providing necessary care to our patients.

    1. The privileged position of prisoners has me livid.

      There are approximately 1000 senior prisoners on the state who should arguably receive priority access. There is zero excuse for 20-something convicted armed robbers getting scarce vaccine ahead of elders. I’m a lot less tolerant of virtue signaling when you’re killing me to do it.

      Not everyone can calmly wait their turn. There is zero accommodation in this plans for high-risk individuals who must leave their homes for high-risk medical procedures.

      Tomorrow I must go in for a 45 minute urgent dental procedure. I have multiple co morbidities. But I will lie there unvaccinated in a cloud of aerosolized virons with dentists who haven’t been vaccinated either while listening to the state congratulating itself. Hopefully I’ll be able to watch TV reports about politicians, traffic cops and felons cheerfully rolling up their sleeves.

      1. Steven, I encourage you to consider the following: the conditions in our prisons make it impossible for prisoners to socially distance and protect themselves from catching COVID. When they are sentenced to incarceration, they are not sentenced to death by disease, and they retain civil rights. Many prisoners are non-violent offenders and you might have some empathy for them if you knew them or their stories. And finally, even if you do not care about people who are sentenced to prison, there’s the impact on those who WORK in prisons, and the tax burden of providing medical care for sick prisoners. All in all, they deserve not to be at the bottom of the list.

        1. You didn’t read a thing I wrote.

          “You might have some empathy for them if you..”

          Your attempt at virtue signaling has backfired. You are merely signaling your vices.

            1. I consider this anger to be appropriate, if twenty-somethings are getting vaccinated in prison before the old and vulnerable. They are not at great risk of dying, the old are. You have no business prescribing what emotions can be shared about injustice to older people who have committed no crimes, to favor the health of people who have committed sufficiently serious crimes to be in prison. I found Ms. Friedman’s overall post informative and helpful, but please don’t try censoring other concerned citizens. Thank you. Many other societies and even states, and even the CDC, have prioritized the over 65 year old population, and just because Massachusetts is refusing to follow CDC recommendations regarding the aged, does not make them correct in this judgment, so please don’t be a censor. I wish I lived in a jurisdiction where those most likely to die themselves were getting the vaccine first, as is being done in parts of Europe and other U.S. states, and as is already being recommended by the CDC.

  8. I am very concerned about access to the vaccine for those who are 75+. Many of us have mobility and/or transportation issues. We simply could not travel an hour to a large football stadium (or other similar facility) and stand in line (even with appointments). We need to have smaller, local venues in every city and town where we can make appointments and receive the shots in a timely manner, while being able to distance from other people. Many seniors do not have any online access at all and would struggle to compete with those who could get an appointment with a single click.

        1. Thank you for the current information on when we will receive our vaccinations. I am 76 and my daughter lives with me. She has MS and takes huge doses of immune suppressant medication, so we should be next in line for our vaccinations.

    1. I was wondering if there’s a role for local senior services in outreach. I was talking to my 82 year old mother and she was saying online signups are tricky for many of her peers. But the senior center in Belmont has a bus, and a large open room, and presumably lists of existing clients and methods for outreach to this population.

  9. SUPER helpful! Thank you so much for this communication. Glad that our state did not alter the course based on the false information about stockpiles.

  10. It seems that vaccinating those most likely to die from the virus did not quite take precedence in the the roll-out plan. Even though the virus is akin to a death sentence for the elderly, only the institutionalized elderly are in the first phase. The rest of the elderly, the majority, are not. I would not argue that certain first responders, especially those in the broad medical community, should not be at the head of the line, but we should not maintain the (political?) fiction that those most likely to die are being treated first.

    1. Don, this is the very heart of the problem. We have good evidence the vaccine saves those at highest risk but very poor evidence that it stops transmission. Those at risk of dying are still going to die. The current plan will make marginal impact. It’s outrageous.

      1. Your statement that “those at risk of dying are still going to die” is wrong. We don’t know yet whether vaccination will stop transmission (it may, the data aren’t available yet). That’s why people are encouraged to continue to mask even after they’re vaccinated, to avoid spreading the disease. What we DO know is that by two weeks after the second dose, people have enough circulating antibody to prevent serious disease.

    2. If I’m hearing you right, I think Cindy acknowledges that there are multiple considerations s when she says: “We can best reduce the number of deaths from COVID-19 and reduce the risk of overwhelming our health care system by identifying: (1) those who are most likely to die from the virus; and (2) those who are critically needed to take care of COVID-19 patients and other vulnerable populations.” Keeping the system functioning and controlling absenteeism among front-line workers are priorities for the safety of all of us.

      1. Re (1) above … Seems to me from the data I’ve seen, if we vaccinate 100 police officers or firefighters, we may save one life, but if we vaccinate 100 seniors 75+ we may save 80 or more lives. If there really is a concern for “those who are most likely to die from the virus”, our priorities are off-base. I welcome any expert corrections to my interpretations of the data.

        1. Hi Dan,

          Your interpretation of the data is incorrect because you are confusing “likelihood of someone who catches Covid dying from Covid” with “likehood of someone catching and dying from Covid.”

          Let me illustrate what I mean with an example. Disclaimer: I’m making up the statistics below for the example; I do not intend or expect these numbers necessarily to be correct.

          Suppose that a 75+ person who catches Covid is 80% likely to die from it. Suppose that this same person and their spouse never leave the house except to go to the doctor and never let anyone else into the house. They have all their groceries delivered. Their doctor’s office is extremely cautious about Covid. It’s entirely plausible that in this scenario their likelihood of catching Covid is 1%. In that case their likelihood of catching and dying from Covid is 80% x 1% = 0.8%.

          Now suppose that a middle-aged police officer who catches Covid is 5% likely to die from it. This officer is required as part of their job to interact with many different people throughout the day, often indoors, often in close proximity, often without masks, and often with physical contact. The odds of this officer eventually catching Covid are, frankly, nearly 100%. Their likelihood of catching and dying from Covid is 5% x 100% = 5%, i.e., significantly higher than the odds for the 75+ individual hypothesized above.

          In short, a 75+ retired person who lives alone can take steps to keep themselves quite safe. A police officer cannot.

          Of course, different people have different circumstances. Maybe not all 75+ people can stay home all the time. Maybe some of them live with people who can’t or refuse to stay home and avoid contact with other people. Maybe they live with their kids, who have to work out of the house. Etc. The odds of catching and dying from Covid are definitely going to be different for different people in different circumstances. But overall it’s actually more dangerous to be a police officer right now than it is to be someone 75+ who isn’t living in a congregate care setting.

          It’s unfortunately just not practical to decide on a case-by-case, individual basis whose circumstances put them in sufficient danger that they should be vaccinated sooner. Unfortunately, decision by categorization is necessary to make this whole vaccination process feasible.

          1. You have a point, Jonathan. But your conclusion depends on infection rates at different ages, data which I have not found. However, I do see from current data that 1 in 15 residents of Massachusetts have become infected. And 1 in 34 of those have died. Moreover, we read that most transmission occurs in the home, where many of the poorest elderly are stuck with their families, who themselves are most prone to infection. I think your assumptions are a bit more cheery than accurate.

            1. Don, what I wrote above is accurate. You might want to consider the possibility that the world’s best epidemiologists, who are making these difficult decisions, are probably better at this than you are.

            2. Jonathan: Come on. You wrote that you were “making up the statistics” that made your case.

  11. Having positive knowledge during an emergency is always helpful. But helpful metaphor also has a role to play. Accordingly, I am sharing the poems at the link below. I offer them as counter-stories to to the trauma people currently experience.

  12. I’m going to be 74 in a few weeks. Living independently close to well staffed medical facilities. In good health as far as I can tell. This pandemic is without precedent for all but the very oldest of our population. Nobody has had practice dealing with something like this. Or managing the complicated public health aspects of it. I’m content to wait my turn and let the Commonwealth iron out the inevitable bugs and glitches as experience is gained. No system is perfect and errors will certainly be made. In the current highly charged political atmosphere, with severe economic disruption, tempers run high. I hope we can all calm down and just focus on getting through this extremely upsetting state of affairs. Later we can establish planning commissions at all levels, to ensure that we’re all prepared to cope sensibly with the next widespread disaster. By the way: I hope we won’t fall into the stupid error of war-gaming the previous battles! Looking back is OK as far as it goes. But the next disaster won’t be identical to this one. It might not even be a pandemic. We’ll be wise to think far outside the box and try to imagine what no one is now really considering: the need eventually to cope with another unanticipated catastrophe. What will happen, someone please tell me, when the bedrock deep under Boston suddenly gives a powerful lurch upward? It happened back in the 17th century and terrified the population. We might be overdue for another quake like that. This next one might even be stronger than the last one. Is anyone planning for it?

      1. Not to mention providing for adequate outside air ventilation in all buildings, to dilute virus-laden aerosols and other nanoparticles. Didn’t all those cases of sick building syndrome back in the 1990s teach us anything? Architects and physicians should get together and rewrite the building codes to promote health, so that it’s on a par with energy efficiency and structural safety.

  13. I hope some care will go into planning the circumstances of vaccination for the very old in frail health. We are a couple 88 and 93 who live independently but would be daunted by having to go to a sports stadium and wait in line.

  14. I am NOT a Dentist, but have ongoing planned appointments for a lot of work and I see nothing in the Press about getting Dentists the vaccine. SURELY they constitute a professional group that needs work ever so closely to an unmasked patient, and while the Dentist can take measures personally and in their offices, it would be very prudent to get them vaccinated sooner than later I think not only for themselves but for their patients!

    1. This is one of the issues that we have brought to the attention of the Department of Public Health. Dentists should be high on the list. In fact, they are already within Phase I, just not the top group within Phase I.

  15. my mother 90 & aunt is 02 do you no when can vaccinated on my Aunt live in cambridge mass my mother live in brighton

  16. I look forward to get my vaccine shot Next month Do you know when Next month when the people that work in grocery store will be getting the vaccine shot? I work at Star market in chestnut hill

  17. I actually do not think Massachusetts has a science based or data driven plan. The plan makes little sense. I have zero problem with institutionalized people getting vaccinated first but why aren’t they using visiting nurses to go to the homes of elderly people to administer the vaccine? There is no place for medical people to sign up to volunteer. I am at the end of phase 1 with zero info on how and where I can get vaccinated. I appreciate this update but with baker handed this off to someone more competent like the Broad Institute.

    1. I think there are extreme practical difficulties with nurses visiting people in their homes to administer the shots. First, both available vaccines must be used within a few hours of thawing out. A nurse would have to pick up the vaccine, travel to the home, give the shot, wait at least 15 minutes in case of an adverse reaction, then travel to the next home. I don’t think a nurse could perform more than 2 vaccinations in an hour and would have to return to the distribution site every 4 hours for more vaccine so it doesn’t spoil. Maybe 7 or 8 patients a day. The same nurse could administer dozens or even a hundred shots in a day at a central site. So it makes more sense for people to go to mass donation sites where possible first. Maybe they should organize volunteers (who have, hopefully, already been vaccinated) to drive people to their local site, just like Election Day GOTV. Even to the same places, like local school gyms.
      I once got my flu shot at Belmont High School, where they were running a mass vaccination clinic as a disaster preparedness exercise. There were hundreds of people that day. Of course, we didn’t have to socially distance.

  18. Posted without spell check. Wish Baker hired someone more competent to be in charge. Thanks for keeping us in the loop.

  19. It is comforting to know the priorities but what are the details? I live in Watertown so how do I get in line? Will my doctor call me? Which web site do I go to – my doctor’s CVS, the Watertown web site, the Sate web site? Is the scheduling software even written yet?

    What are the logistics? Where do I go? The doctor’s office, a high school, a church, a sports stadium, the place I vote? How much space will there be for people to wait 15 mins after the shot? How can I know it will be safe or can I get infected waiting in line or afterwards? Is there enough parking? I have a car but how will it work for people who don’t?

    1. This the key question that everyone not in Phase I is asking: “When, how, where . . . and who will tell me?”

      The answer from the administration is roughly this: “We will let you know. The word will be going out through all the channels we can use to reach each group. We are doing things in order and are focused on Phase I, but the word will be going out about Phase 2 as we approach vaccine availability for Phase 2.”

      So, it’s sort of “trust us,” but I think that is as good an answer as we can get at this stage.

      The vaccine plan does provide high level information as to the intended settings in which vaccinations will occur.

      /w.

  20. A several weeks ago I had COVID symptoms and wanted to get tested. There are 3 sites that I know of in my neighborhood (Brighton). The two nearest only offer drive up testing and I’m a walker. The site that offers walk up testing was too far for me to walk with an elephant on my chest. I could not in good conscious take the bus, call a cab, or ask a friend to drive me with the potential to expose healthy people to an infected person. Fortunately, either I didn’t have COVID or had the mildest case ever and recovered in about 10 days but then, I’ll never really know. I still have fatigue, cannot smell or taste anything, and worry that I may infect others.

    1. Barbara…try contacting these good folks…perhaps they can assist you. They are located in Oak Sq. Presentation School…Be Well

      ABCD Health Services staff can be reached by telephone or email. Please contact Jessica Aguilera-Steinert, Director of HS at j.aguilerasteinert@bostonabcd.org or 617.348.6416.

      ABCD is part of the Community Action Network, created with the passage of the Economic Opportunity Act,

  21. I work in a police dept as a clerk and not a first responder but was dismayed when I heard 6 vaccines had to be tossed due to timing. Instead of throwing them away why weren’t they given to civilian personnel who work closely with first responders as is have pre diabetes emphysema RA and a husband at home who has had a kidney transplant.

  22. More inane nonsense from someone utterly unqualified for the task.

    Massachusetts’ morbidity and mortality performance so far re COVID has been the third worst of the 50 states.

    Why Will? Please explain why you and colleagues have done so poorly. The worst in New England, by far.

    Crickets.

    But meanwhile, Will and the boys just voted themselves a juicy raise! Shameful Will, shameful.

    1. Hi Jon, we were unlucky enough to be the beachhead for COVID in the United States — New York, New Jersey, MA — experienced the first surges. So we are much further down the curve than other places. Also, in part because we were in the first wave, we had huge deaths in nursing homes. As far as health care system performance, I think we’ve done well, managing to stay ahead of capacity. Other states are running out of beds and rationing care. I take no credit for that as a legislator, but I give credit to the Governor for clamping down in March and April and avoiding the catastrophe that has befallen other places. I would also credit good planning by our health care leaders.

      As to the raise, that was not a vote of the legislature — that is a consequence of the formula approved on the ballot by the people. It tends to lag the economy somewhat.

  23. Really hope the distribution will be made simple for all to understand and to execute, by avoiding complicated sign up and qualification procedures. After the first responders and doctors and key vulnerable populations are vaccinated, as you get into the mass of our population, please consider administering the vaccine based on the democratic and easy to verify individual birthdate. Folks should be able to show up at vaccine centers with a photo ID to verify their eligibility. Keep it simple, and the process will run faster, smoother. Otherwise, if it’s complicated, the system will be disadvantaging the less technologically savvy, the less persistent and the less connected. Hope the vaccine supplies come fast. Thank you!

  24. The messaging around where and when to get the vaccine is all over the place. Everyone I know is questioning each other, “do you know when you’ll get it, have you heard from your doctor, where will I get it…..”
    Here’s what I think the plan should be, 1. Vaccinate people who are most likely to have severe illness, linger in ICUs and then potentially die (elderly) and those who take care of them (health care providers), these groups should be first in line. 2. Teachers, transit workers and grocery store workers, people who keep the economy going should be next. The squabbling over who is in what phase is an enormous waste of time and is creating anger, suspicion, envy and delay.
    Forget the dashboards and charts, there should be public service messages splashed across television, newspapers and billboards. For a state a with as many resources as Massachusetts has, we have done an abysmal job in supporting this effort and communicating with people. And no, I don’t want to hear about how it’s all the federal governments fault, we’re way beyond that truth and it’s getting old.

  25. My husband and I live with my parents (age 89 & 93) who have underlying conditions. They have a part-time caregiver who comes to the house. She will get vaccinated in phase I, which is great. Is there any chance that my husband and I would qualify as (unpaid) home healthcare workers for purposes of getting the vaccine? My concern is that my husband cannot work remotely and we’re concerned about he or I exposing my parents before they can get the vaccine in Phase II.

    Thank you.

  26. Dear Will, if it were possible, I’d like to see our teachers and educators grouped into Phase 1 along with our first responders. As cases increase in Belmont and across the state, inoculating this important group of people earlier would help a great deal in our efforts to keep schools open in some capacity. Thanks for all your help.

    1. If everyone is in Phase 1, then no one is in Phase 1. Getting schools open is very important, but not nearly as important as not killing people.

      1. Your response would be correct if they were waiting to reopen the schools until after teachers are vaccinated. Unfortunately, however, they are pressuring school districts to reopen before teachers have been vaccinated. Apparently, butts in chairs are more important than teachers’ lives.

        (Yes, I realize that it is more complicated than that because in many districts schools provide stability and food that children in chaotic or food-insecure households can’t get at home, but this does not change the fact that the state has apparently decided that teachers are essential, front-line workers without prioritizing protecting them like essential, front-line workers.)

  27. The info in the “most recent” state report about vaccine shipments is either woefully out of date or horrible. The report is dated last Thursday (Jan 14) but the data only goes to Jan 12, almost a week old. It says we received only 18,450 doses in the previous week, and 96% were shipped on the 1st day of that week (Jan 6), and only 200 doses in the most recent 5 days. The weekly total was down 61% from the previous week. At this rate, it will take decades if not centuries to inoculate everyone.

    1. The flow of vaccines into the state will increase because grown-ups are about to be in charge of it at the federal level for the first time, and because more doses will become available as other countries — who have done a far better job of vaccination than we have — near the end of their vaccination drives and require fewer doses, and because Biden is planning on invoking the Defense Production Act to increase vaccine production, and because the Johnson & Johnson vaccine — which doesn’t require deep-freeze storage and only requires one dose — is likely to receive emergency use authorization in the next 1–2 months.

      1. Thank you, Jonathan, for this short version.
        (Life will improve with adults at the helm 🙂

  28. My strong concern is the gap between doses delivered to Mass. and doses administered by Mass. Baker and his administration have not PLANNED this mass vaccination campaign well enough! All citizens should let Baker know this is UNACCEPTABLE and he must shift course and do things differently!

  29. The majority of comments here are about how they should be 1st to get the jab. Very sad. No one questions the efficacy or safety. Blindly trusted the health experts and politicians will lead to a major calamity. Do some research outside of NPR or Good Morning America.

  30. Some other states already have a vaccine registration system in place so that people can pre-register online for the vaccine to get all of their information in place, and be notified when and where to go when they have an appointment. Is MA going to get a system in place to do this?

  31. After doing reading up on various state plans, the way forward is a national plan. This 50 different plan is a mess. Some state has resources to deploy the vaccines but no vaccines. Some states have vaccines but no resources to deploy the vaccines. Some states are using retired medical professionals, national guard troops and non-traditional medical professionals to administer the vaccines. Some states without vaccines live near a manufacturing site but cannot buy directly from the site. Somes states are doing 1st vaccine and 2nd vaccine dose (Pfizer and Moderna; AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson are one dose). Therefore the pace is different for each state. Florida is giving them out at a fast pace. However, Florida is also giving the vaccine to out-of-state person as well as persons from Venezuela, Argentina and India. India has a travel package for this purpose. So it is a free-for-all in Florida.
    Under this plan, most medical experts who have been interviewed are saying that we will likely reach herd immunity (75% vaccination) by the end of summer 2022. Under a national plan, we can likely reach herd immunity by the end of this fall. As one analyst put it, with 4 vaccines distributed by the federal government resources, 100 million doses in 100 days is a highly probable event. Even if the people get the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, their immunity effectiveness range will be between 52% and 85%. In my opinion, anyone against a national plan probably has an agenda to make government small enough to drown it in its own bathwater, at any cost.
    I think everyone should contact their US Senator and US House Representative and tell them to get the national plan done immediately. Then contact friends and family who live in other states and tell them to do the same. Then tell our current representatives to keep the pressure up on Governor Baker for the interim.

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