Vaccine shipments slow; high-risk communities rise

One good sign, number of vaccinations rises sharply

THE NUMBER of communities considered high-risk for COVID-19 continued to creep up on Thursday, even as the shipment of vaccines to Massachusetts appeared to be slowing.

In the state’s weekly COVID reports, the state said a total of 347,450 doses of the two COVID-19 vaccines had been shipped to Massachusetts, an increase of 5.9 percent from last week. For the week ending Tuesday, the state received 17,650 does on January 6 and only 800 doses the rest of the week.

The number of doses administered in Massachusetts rose sharply over the seven-day period, rising by 98,066, or 69 percent. Of the 239,174 doses administered so far, 32,984 represent second doses.

The rollout of the vaccine so far has targeted hospital workers, staff and residents of long-term care facilities, and first responders. The age breakdown of those who received the vaccine skewed young, with 38.1 percent in the 30-49 age range, 36 percent in the 50-69 age range, 16.5 percent in the 20-29 age range, and 8.9 percent in the 70-plus age range.

The number of communities identified as high risk rose by 10 to 229, representing 65 percent of the cities and towns in the state.

Being labeled as high-risk, identified in red on the state’s color-coded map, requires the community to have more than 10 cases per 100,000 people over the previous two weeks and a positive test rate (positive tests divided by total tests) of 5 percent for communities with more than 50,000 people and 4 percent for towns with between 10,000 and 50,000 people.

Most of the state’s communities are easily blowing through those minimums. This week’s report listed 30 communities with more than 100 cases per 100,000 over the last two weeks, up from 10 last week.

Gardner was highest at 176.1, followed by Lawrence at 171.6, Ayer at 165.8, Acushnet at 164.7, and Fairhaven at 155.7.

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.

The state as a whole remained in the red category – at 78 cases per 100,000 people and a positive test rate of 7.99 percent. Last week the state had 61.1 cases per 100,000 people and a positive test rate of 7.71 percent.

The number of COVID-19 cases over the last two weeks was 75,991, up nearly 28 percent compared to last week’s report.