Baker still optimistic despite vaccine delay
State expects 35,000 fewer doses by end of month
GOV. CHARLIE BAKER said he is frustrated the state will receive fewer initial doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 than initially anticipated, but doubted the delay would cause any major problems.
At a State House press conference on Friday, Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders said the federal government informed her the state will be receiving only 42,900 of the 60,000 anticipated first-dose vaccines from Pfizer in its next shipment.
“We’re frustrated that we won’t be receiving the shipment we expected in the first wave and are working on getting clarity on what this means, why this happened, and how that bump will be dealt with along the way [forward],” said Baker.
About 59,475 doses have been distributed to hospitals so far.
“We will continue to pivot as necessary,” said Sudders.
“I think the task at hand, the distribution of hundreds of millions of two-dose vaccines is a big one. I view this as part of the lumpiness that comes with starting a program like this,” he said, adding that he believes the state will get every vaccine it was promised eventually.
There has been no explanation from the federal government or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over the shipment changes. Pfizer officials did not comment.
Baker said the distribution process “might lag a week or so,” but predicted an adequate amount of vaccine doses should be delivered within the first two months of the year. He said flatly that health care workers who have already gotten a first dose will receive their second dose on schedule.The administration also announced it has ordered 120,000 first doses of the Moderna vaccine, which was endorsed by a Food and Drug Administration panel on Thursday and is expected to be authorized for distribution soon.
Sudders said vaccines will begin to be administered by CVS and Walgreens at long-term care facilities the week of December 28. First responders will have access to the vaccine by mid-January. Vaccines will be available at multiple parts of the day so people who work later shifts can also have access.