Baker not interested in vaccine mandates – for now

Also says he’s got a problem with those who cut the line

GOV. CHARLIE BAKER isn’t interested in requiring public-facing employees to get vaccinated, at least right now. And he’s got a problem with public officials who use their position to cut the vaccine line.

In an interview Wednesday on the Boston Public Radio show, Baker said he wouldn’t favor a mandate requiring members of the State Police, correctional officers, nursing home workers and other public-facing employees to be vaccinated in order to perform their duties.

“I don’t think you should put somebody in a position where they have to choose between a vaccine that they may be very concerned about taking for some very good reasons and their jobs, at least at this point in the process,” Baker said. “I want to concentrate on getting people vaccinated first.”

Baker indicated he might reconsider his position after more time has gone by.

The governor was also chided for not using his position to get vaccinated more quickly. Baker, who is 64, became eligible for a vaccination on Monday but hasn’t gotten an appointment yet. Radio host Jim Braude asked the governor whether his stance was a form of virtue signaling.

“I’m doing what everybody else is doing. I preregistered and at some point I’ll get access to an appointment and I’ll make one and I’ll go get vaccinated,” he said. “I thought people were justifiably angry when all the folks in DC decided they should get vaccinated first. I don’t buy that, and it’s got nothing to do with virtue anything. There’s a process here and people should obey it. That creates at least a little bit of fairness for people who generally speaking are pretty anxious about when their turn in line comes.”

Baker didn’t stop there. “The idea that somehow I would go and quote-unquote cut the line and get vaccinated before we get a lot more of the people for whom we are concerned about getting vaccinated just doesn’t make any sense to me,” he said.

The vaccine was made available to members of Congress in December, ahead of most other people in the country. Many members of Congress got the shots because of what they called the need for “continuity of government operations.”

Meet the Author

Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Many members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation received the shot, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey and Reps. Katherine Clark, Ayanna Pressley, and James McGovern.

In January, then-Boston Mayor Marty Walsh was vaccinated by virtue of his status as a cabinet nominee in the Biden administration. Walsh was sworn in earlier this week as labor secretary.