Baker: Mass. hopes to vaccinate residents as quickly and efficiently as possible

Massachusetts

BOSTON (WPRI) ─ The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has come up with a plan to distribute and administer a COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes federally approved.

The state reported an additional five COVID-19 related deaths and 821 confirmed cases on Tuesday.

Right now, there are 517 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Massachusetts, making it more important than ever to ensure the state has a thorough vaccination plan once a shot is made available nationwide.

Full breakdown of Tuesday’s COVID-19 data (Mass.gov) »

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) asked states to submit their vaccine distribution plans by Nov. 1.

Gov. Charlie Baker said Tuesday he expects the state to receive up to 60,000 doses of the vaccine once once one is cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“We’ve relied on some of the brightest minds in public health space to put this together,” Baker said.

Like Rhode Island, Massachusetts split its plan up into a series of phases designed to prioritize healthcare workers and high-risk populations.

Read the full Massachusetts COVID-19 Vaccination Plan (Interim Draft) »

“We will also make it a priority to reach out specifically to groups who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, including people and communities of color,” Baker said.

Each phase is based off of three different scenarios.

The first phase will be split into two parts and will begin once there is a limited amount of vaccines available:

  • Phase 1A: All people serving in healthcare settings, both paid and unpaid, will have the option of receiving the vaccine. To be considered, those healthcare workers must have direct or indirect exposure to patients of infectious materials and are unable to work from home.
  • Phase 1B: Other essential workers and people in high-risk populations, including those 65 years or older, will have the option of receiving the vaccine.

The second phase will begin once an ample supply of the vaccine is available. During this phase, the vaccine will be offered to people of color and those living in lower income communities.

Baker said during the third phase, the state plans to provide vaccines for all residents quickly and at no cost.

But all of this, he said, will only happen once a vaccine is deemed safe.

“We would never go forward with this unless we had a high degree of confidence here in Massachusetts that it is safe and effective,” Baker said. “That’s going to be both a function of federal data but also the review that our folks in Massachusetts on the advisory committee will do as well.”

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