Delayed vaccines arrive in Massachusetts 

Weather, staffing shortages cited in delays 

AFTER A DAY of concern and confusing messages, the delayed shipments of COVID-19 vaccines have arrived in Massachusetts, and no appointments will be cancelled. 

“Gov. Baker and the Command Center have been in constant communication with federal officials to rush vaccine shipments to Massachusetts,” said Kate Reilly, a spokesperson for the state COVID-19 Command Center. “Today, 135,025 [doses] arrived to the Commonwealth and as a result, providers will not have to cancel appointments.”  

Thursday morning, Gov. Charlie Baker said he was seeking federal permission to send the National Guard to pick up vaccine doses that were delayed by the weather. Thursday evening, the state’s COVID-19 Command Center reported that the Guard was not being deployed. 

Although Baker had earlier cited weather delays, which have delayed vaccine shipping nationwide, the Command Center statement said the delay was due to a staffing shortage at the vaccine manufacturing facilities. The late doses were scheduled to arrive Monday, and the Command Center raised the possibility that appointments would be cancelled. 

A statement issued Friday afternoon did not provide any additional clarification on how the state was able to get the doses sooner. “The Administration appreciates the efforts made to get this critical shipment here and is not anticipating additional delays from the federal government for vaccine shipments at this time, said the statement.  

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Shira Schoenberg

Reporter, CommonWealth

About Shira Schoenberg

Shira Schoenberg is a reporter at CommonWealth magazine. Shira previously worked for more than seven years at the Springfield Republican/MassLive.com where she covered state politics and elections, covering topics as diverse as the launch of the legal marijuana industry, problems with the state's foster care system and the elections of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Gov. Charlie Baker. Shira won the Massachusetts Bar Association's 2018 award for Excellence in Legal Journalism and has had several stories win awards from the New England Newspaper and Press Association. Shira covered the 2012 New Hampshire presidential primary for the Boston Globe. Before that, she worked for the Concord (N.H.) Monitor, where she wrote about state government, City Hall and Barack Obama's 2008 New Hampshire primary campaign. Shira holds a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

About Shira Schoenberg

Shira Schoenberg is a reporter at CommonWealth magazine. Shira previously worked for more than seven years at the Springfield Republican/MassLive.com where she covered state politics and elections, covering topics as diverse as the launch of the legal marijuana industry, problems with the state's foster care system and the elections of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Gov. Charlie Baker. Shira won the Massachusetts Bar Association's 2018 award for Excellence in Legal Journalism and has had several stories win awards from the New England Newspaper and Press Association. Shira covered the 2012 New Hampshire presidential primary for the Boston Globe. Before that, she worked for the Concord (N.H.) Monitor, where she wrote about state government, City Hall and Barack Obama's 2008 New Hampshire primary campaign. Shira holds a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

Reilly did not immediately respond to a request for clarification.  

Reilly reiterated what Baker has said during prior press conferences — that the governor “urges the federal government to provide larger shipments and more lead time for the state, so more eligible residents can get their shots as quickly and safely as possible.” Baker has complained that the federal government only lets states order one week’s worth of vaccine at a time, so the state cannot tell providers how many doses will be available to let people book appointments more than one week out.