BOSTON (WPRI) — Eligible seniors in Massachusetts can now take a plus one to get vaccinated with them at one of the state’s designated mass vaccination sites.
After several days of mass vaccination sites having hundreds of extra appointments at the end of the day, Gov. Charlie Baker is using this opportunity as a way to maximize doses with people who would already be there anyway.
“We hope this change will encourage more 75 and older residents to get their vaccines at mass vaccination sites,” Baker said Wednesday.
At the governor’s briefing Thursday, he said the rate of unused vaccine in the state is currently at 0.13%.
“Any dose you lose is a problem, but that’s a pretty small number in the grand scheme of things,” he said.
The governor also said there have already been reports of people trying to exploit the new opportunity.
“We have heard of some pretty disturbing reports of people trying to take advantage of this program already, with some people posting online trying to get a senior to bring them to a vaccination site or in some cases asking to be paid to drive somebody to one,” he said.
Baker took this opportunity to remind residents not to share their personal information.
“If you are 75 years or older and you need assistance going through the vaccination process, you should only reach out to somebody that you know and trust to bring you as your companion,” Baker said.
Steve Weiner, 83, who received his first dose of the vaccine at Gillette Stadium Thursday, was accompanied by his son Rob, who was looking to get a caregiver shot.
“I was really impressed, I really was,” Weiner said.
Residents ages 75 or older getting vaccinated at a mass vaccination site can bring a companion to get vaccinated as long as they make an appointment before they arrive.
“If you have an appointment then there is a vaccine that will be there for you,” Baker said. “If you don’t have an appointment you won’t get a vaccine, because that’s the way the process is set up, and that’s the way it’s going to work.”
The state just released 74,000 appointments for COVID-19 vaccines Thursday that are available into next week.
The Mass. Department of Health reported 2,213 new confirmed coronavirus cases Thursday, and an additional 61 residents had died after contracting the virus.
The data shows 1,313 people remain in the hospital with COVID-19, with 304 patients in the intensive care unit and 185 on ventilators.