Manufacturing delay, weather holding up vaccine shipment
Baker administration clarifies earlier explanation for delivery lag
COVID-19 VACCINE DOSES scheduled to be shipped to Massachusetts from the federal government this week have been delayed, and state officials left open the possibility that vaccine appointments may be cancelled.
“The Command Center is working with providers now to assess how this shipment delay may impact appointments that have already been scheduled,” a spokesperson for the state’s COVID operation said in a statement on Thursday afternoon.
The center said all residents should go to their scheduled appointments unless they are contacted by the provider they booked with.
Gov. Charlie Baker suggested earlier on Thursday that the National Guard may be deployed to southern states to pick up vaccine doses, which had been delayed by the weather in getting shipped out. But Thursday afternoon, his COVID-19 command center said the Guard is in fact not being deployed.
On Wednesday night, the federal government told Massachusetts officials that a shipment would not arrive until Monday due to weather conditions. The federal government has now clarified that the cause of the delay is, in fact, staffing shortages at vaccine manufacturing facilities. It is unclear from the state’s explanation whether the staffing delays were due to weather or were a separate problem.
“Gov. Baker reached out directly to federal officials upon learning of the delay to offer any assistance the Commonwealth could provide to avoid this disruption,” the state spokesperson said. “The administration is imploring the federal government to do everything in its power to rectify the delay immediately.”
For now, there are still thousands of unused doses in Massachusetts. “The administration is doing everything possible to shift inventory between sites to help providers fulfill existing appointments until the shipment arrives,” the spokesperson said.This is the latest snafu in a rollout that has been plagued with problems, including the crashing of the state’s website Thursday morning as 1 million people became newly eligible for the shots.