Baker encourages residents get vaccinated as Massachusetts’ supply of J&J plummets


WORCESTER, Mass. (WPRI/AP) — Massachusetts, along with every other state, is getting a drastically lower shipment of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine this week because of a manufacturing error at a Maryland plant.

The state got almost 104,000 doses of the vaccine last week but is scheduled receive only 12,300 doses this week, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Secretary of Health and Human Services Marlou Sudders toured a vaccination site in Worcester Monday to commemorate the 15th anniversary of Massachusetts Health Connector.

Baker said they have a meeting scheduled Tuesday to discuss the number of Johnson & Johnson doses for the following weeks, after the decrease in supply.

“It makes it really hard to create a sustainable program with this,” he explained.

The governor added he hopes they can get into a rhythm with distributing Johnson & Johnson, as they have with Moderna and Pfizer.

The single dose allows opportunity for tons of new vaccination capacity, according to Baker.

“A one dose is a terrific way to meet them where they are and to get them vaccinated,” he said. “It doesn’t require them to go somewhere twice, it doesn’t require us to get them to go somewhere twice, it doesn’t require us to create a second appointment.”

Baker also announced the state is expecting to pass 2 million people fully vaccinated in the state this week. Nearly 1.6 million people in Massachusetts have already been vaccinated, according to the latest Department of Public Health data.

For people still hesitant about getting the vaccine, Baker pointed to the case numbers and hospitalizations declining among the state’s older populations.

“Take a look at the success of vaccinating older Americans has had on older Americans’ case counts and hospitalizations,” he said. “They have plunged dramatically since we began vaccinating senior citizens.”

The governor said the state is still on track to open vaccine eligibility to all residents 16 and older on April 19 and that the scheduling website will be ready for the potential amount of heavy traffic.

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