|Baker: Vaccine-Eligible Community Should Find Appointments Before April 19|
|By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff |
02:32PM / Wednesday, April 07, 2021
|Gov. Charlie Baker gets his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at the mass vaccination site at the Hynes Convention Center on Tuesday after becoming eligible this week. Baker is urging residents to wait their turn and not jump the line. Everyone over age 16 will be eligible April 19.|
REVERE, Mass. — Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday urged Bay State residents currently eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations to find appointments before eligibility opens up to everyone 16 and older later this month.
"If you are over the age of 65, if you're over the age of 55, I think it would be great if you signed up, pre-registered, got an appointment to get vaccinated now that it's your turn," Baker said. "Because you are, based on all the data associated with vulnerable populations, among the most at risk when it comes to dealing with COVID.
"We're thrilled that we're over 80 percent with that population. We're above the national average. But that still means there are a bunch of folks who are quite elderly who haven't signed up yet. I'm sure we'll find some of them with the homebound programming we're doing. I'm sure we'll find some of them with the work we're doing in congregate care facilities.
"But if you're one of those older folks, I really recommend you sign up and get vaccinated."
To make it easier to find those appointments, Baker said the state continues to modify its online reservation system. About 1.5 million Massachusetts have used the commonwealth's registration system, and about 800,000 of those people have been contacted to book appointments, he said.
This week, two more regional collaboratives, including the one in Amherst and Northampton, were added to the registration system, and Baker said the state this month will be adding that function to more regional collaboratives.
Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito were in Revere on Wednesday to tour a vaccination site at the Oceanside Events Center and tout the administration's efforts to reach out to communities hardest hit by the pandemic.
Baker said that he felt fine after receiving his COVID-19 vaccination on Tuesday and pushed for everyone who can receive a vaccination to do so. He said the commonwealth has the capacity to deliver two or three times more doses per day and once again said he hopes the supply received from the federal government will soon match that capacity.
Baker also had a message for those who would "game the system" and get a shot before they are eligible.
After saying that "line jumping" has been rare throughout the commonwealth, Baker implored anyone who is tempted to cheat to instead follow the rules and wait their turn.
"There's a reason why we have a process here," Baker said. "And I've had people say to me, 'In a lot of other states, everyone is eligible.' Well, most of those states where everyone is eligible, we've vaccinated a greater portion of our population than they have. It's just that we've vaccinated more of what I consider the folks who are most at risk to suffer hospitalization or worse when it comes to COVID.
"The one thing I would say about the vaccine program is that it is a limited supply program, which is why we have the criteria in the first place. If you cut the line and you're not eligible, you're basically taking a vaccine away from somebody who probably is vulnerable and probably ought to get the vaccine before you do."