Governor Charlie Baker on Monday morning announced that the Commonwealth is on track to meeting its goal of vaccinating 4.1 million people by the end of June, as well as discussed some upcoming changes to the vaccine distribution plan.
Baker said that since January 1, the number of positive cases statewide have gone down 82 percent.
He also said that vaccinations are not as hard to come by now as they have been over the past few months. With everyone age 16 and older eligible, there are now 900 locations offering the vaccine, so people should not have that tough of a time finding one near them.
“This is obviously a welcome change from a few months ago,” Baker said.
He also announced that the vaccine distribution will now become more targeted to reach specific populations of people who have not yet received a vaccine. He said that 22 regional collaboratives will be given an increased number of doses, and mobile vaccination clinics will also be expanded statewide. Additionally, doses distributed to primary care providers will also be increased.
The vaccine allocation will also be doubled for the state’s “20 most disproportionately impacted communities,” according to the state.
Baker said that more than 60 percent of those vaccinated at a mobile clinic were people of color.
As a result of ramping up vaccines at these types of locations, Baker said that the state’s seven mass vaccination sites will not be as robust as they have been, and four of the seven are planned to be closed by the end of June: Gillette Stadium, Hynes Convention Center, Double Tree in Danvers, and the Natick Mall.
“With millions of people vaccinated, the demand for high throughput mass vaccination sites will gradually decline, and more vaccines will be dispersed more widely across communities,” according to a release from the state.
He said that 1.2 million doses have been distributed at this site, and the sites have allowed for nearly half a million people to be fully vaccinated. He said that “hundreds of thousands of appointments” remain at these locations and those people will continue to be served at these locations.
“We can’t stress this particular point enough,” Baker said, reiterating that everyone over the age of 16 is eligible for the vaccine.
“There are openings everywhere across Massachusetts,” he said. “There’s no more waiting or hassle. You don’t have to get up in the middle of the night to schedule an appointment.”
Additionally, the state said that shortly, the CDC “may authorize vaccines for children ages 12-15, and we will keep pre-registration available for parents who may want to bring kids to a mass vaccination site.”
Baker added that he and his administration is “grateful” to all of the healthcare providers, municipalities, and vendors who have helped make the vaccine distribution happen in the state.
“We look forward to getting back to normal and putting the darkness of the pandemic behind us,” he said.
On Wednesday, Baker announced that vaccines will be available without an appointment at several mass vaccination sites beginning on May 10. For more information on the vaccine and where to get one, visit https://www.mass.gov/covid-19-vaccine.