BROCKTON – Expecting Massachusetts to clear the “milestone” of 1 million people fully vaccinated from COVID-19 in the next day, Gov. Charlie Baker slotted the final pieces of the state’s vaccine distribution puzzle on Wednesday as he expects supply to pick up in the coming weeks.
Baker, who visited the Brockton Neighborhood Health Center on St. Patrick’s Day, said he and other governors had been given assurances by the White House on Tuesday that “the supply chain will continue to open up” through April, delivering hundreds of thousands of additional doses.
The confidence in supply, the governor said, will allow the state to move forward with the final stages of its vaccination program, culminating with the general public over the age of 16 becoming eligible on April 19 – Patriots Day.
“The news about the arrival of more vaccine from the federal government means we will be able to move faster to get doses to our residents, and this is long overdue and welcome. We are all eager to get back to something like normal, and see our friends and loved ones again. The vaccines can’t come fast enough,” Baker said.
Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders also said the state had received a $27.4 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that would be used to improve trust and vaccinate acceptance in the state’s 20 hardest-hit and diverse communities.
Of that new funding, $5.1 million will go to community health centers and $4.7 million will go straight to those 20 municipalities to support vaccine clinics.
Beginning next week with people 60 and older and certain workers, including restaurant employees, transit workers and grocery store personnel, will be eligible to book a vaccine appointment, though Baker said it could take weeks, depending on supply.
People 55 and older or with one underlying health condition will become eligible April 5, followed by the general adult population on April 19 – Patriots’ Day.
The timeline means Baker, 64, will become eligible for a vaccine next week.
“I plan to pre-register and we’ll see what happens. Because I will be eligible. I’m very excited about that,” he said.
This is a developing story.