Is vaccine supply finally outpacing demand?
Those days appear to be over.
CBS Boston reported that at a Marlboro Hospital walk-in clinic, organizers were practically begging people to come get a dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. The story said the Acushnet Fire Department posted a picture on Facebook of its empty walk-in clinic in New Bedford.
The Telegram & Gazette reported that central Massachusetts vaccine providers are similarly seeing reduced demand, and are starting to use outreach tactics to get people into their clinics. According to an employee at UMass Memorial Health, of every 100 people the organization reaches out to, maybe 20 or 30 are interested in getting the shot.
It is not surprising that demand is slowing down. According to state statistics, 3.68 million Massachusetts residents have already gotten their first (or only) dose of a COVID vaccine – or about 65 percent of the Massachusetts adult population of 5.6 million. While Massachusetts has generally low rates of vaccine hesitancy, recent polling found that around 11 percent of adult state residents plan not to get a vaccine.
Gov. Charlie Baker has said previously that Massachusetts needs to vaccinate around 4.1 million people to reach herd immunity, the rate at which the virus can no longer spread. That number, however, is speculative since public health experts cannot say with certainty exactly what percentage of the population needs to be inoculatedto reach herd immunity for COVID-19. The growth of more contagious variants may also change that calculation.
But the slowing down of enthusiasm is heightening the importance of reaching out to the remaining unvaccinated residents and making it easier for those who face logistical hurdles to get a shot.
The Boston Globe reported that primary care doctors believe they can help. The doctors say residents who may be hesitant to go to a mass vaccination site or cannot travel to one are used to going to their physicians’ offices, trust their doctors, and may be more likely to get the shot if it is offered by their doctor.
The Baker administration announced Thursday it was distributing $8.8 million in grants to increase awareness of the vaccine in 20 communities that were hard-hit by COVID, part of a $27.4 million initiative announced last month. The money will let community-based organizations and community health centers help residents schedule vaccine appointments. It will also let organizations directly administer vaccines targeted at hard-to-reach populations in places of worship, homeless encampments, substance use treatment facilities, or immigrant assistance centers.
For months, Baker has been telling residents to be patient, that at some point, vaccine supply would exceed demand. That point may now be here.
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FROM AROUND THE WEB
The House and Senate disagree over the contours of a bond bill meant to finance a new Holyoke Soldiers’ Home. (MassLive)
Rockport residents, unhappy with the operation of their fire department, sue to create an independent fire district with a separate governing board. (Gloucester Daily Times)
Gloucester reaches a settlement with a health department employee who was fired after publicly accusing a Gloucester police officer of being a sex trafficker. (Gloucester Daily Times)
Park designers have finalized plans for a makeover of Boston’s Copley Square. (Boston Globe)
A Globe editorial supports the idea of mandated vaccination of certain workers, siding with Attorney General Maura Healey over Gov. Charlie Baker..
Some small metro regions are trying to lure remote workers to relocate there, offering cash incentives and, in the case of one region of Arkansas, throwing in a free bicycle as well. (New York Times)
Attorney General Maura Healey paid nearly $21,000 for polling out of her campaign account earlier this month, but continues to brush off talk that she’s preparing a run for governor next year. (Boston Globe)
Mayoral candidates Annissa Essaibi George and Andrea Campbell criticized Acting Mayor Kim Janey’s decision to put Boston businesses on a slower reopening schedule than the rest of the state. (Boston Herald)
Secretary of State Bill Galvin says he’s leaning toward running for another term next year. (Politico)
A new poll says a majority of Boston voters would favor switching the timing of municipal elections, now held in odd-numbered years, so that they occur in conjunction with state and federal elections where there is higher turnout. (Boston Globe)
Workers who were terminated from the Boston Marriott Copley Place hotel last fall amid the pandemic downturn are launching a boycott of the hotel as part of an effort to win reinstatement in their jobs. (Boston Globe)
Gov. Charlie Baker announces he is awarding $2.1 million in grants to vocational technical schools to help close the skills gap and train workers for available careers. (Salem News)
New state guidelines will require schools to screen students for dyslexia. (Eagle-Tribune)
The Northboro-Southboro Regional School District will retire its Tomahawk mascot. (Telegram & Gazette)
Haverhill officials will let the controversial statue of Hannah Duston, a Colonial woman kidnapped by Native Americans, remain. But officials will remove a plaque referring to Native Americans as savages and take the hatchet out of Duston’s hand. (Eagle-Tribune)
The Worcester Regional Transit Authority, which waived all fares during the pandemic, is prepared to start charging again. (Telegram & Gazette)
NOAA Fisheries recommends the city of Gloucester let a washed up minke whale carcass decompose on its own. (Gloucester Daily Times)
The state’s largest utilities are testing the use of geothermal energy for heating and cooling homes, to see if they could reduce reliance on natural gas and oil. (Eagle-Tribune)
Suffolk County DA Rachael Rollins convenes a summit to address court convictions tainted by drug lab scandals. (WBUR)More than 300 Boston police officers earned more than $300,000 last year. (Boston Globe)
Lombardo’s, a prominent wedding and prom venue in Randolph, is filling in as a courthouse in these days of COVID. (WBUR)