‘We’re going to be ready’: Renewed call for more COVID vaccine doses made by Berkshire leaders Gov. Charlie Baker

If Massachusetts had enough doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, Darlene Rodowicz said each of the Berkshire Regional Collaborative’s vaccination sites could inoculate up to 2,000 people per day in three communities.

“As we all know, there weren’t enough vaccines back then to hit those numbers,” said Rodowicz, executive vice president of Berkshire Health System and organizer of the county immunization collaboration. “But every time they break free, know that you should come here and get the vaccine, because we’re going to be ready to put them in your arms.”

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine shipment went on hiatus on Thursday as regulators determine whether the vaccine is related to blood clotting that six women reported after receiving their vaccines.

The state continues to receive a limited supply from the federal government. Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose injections have promised to speed up the state’s efforts to vaccinate Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker said, because Moderna and Pfizer require two injections three weeks apart.

Baker said he has repeatedly asked the federal government for more doses and offered to accept doses that any other state could refuse.

“The simple truth is that we can administer two or three times as many doses daily here in the Commonwealth as we actually have,” said the Republican governor.

Dr Anthony Fauci said the federal government plans to announce by Friday whether J&J shipments will resume, CBS News reported.

But the doses of J&J might not be produced by Emergent BioSolutions, the company that runs the Baltimore plant where 15 million doses were spoiled in an accident. The Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday an inspection found the plant to be unsanitary, CNBC reported. The FDA has asked Emergent BioSolutions to temporarily stop producing materials for COVID-19 vaccines.

In Massachusetts, more than 2.1 million people are fully vaccinated and 5.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in total, according to the state Department of Public Health.

Of those fully vaccinated, some 203,000 people received Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine before shipments were halted so that regulators could determine if they were related to blood clotting. Six women reported severe blood clotting after taking the vaccine.

The Berkshire Regional Collaborative administered more than 65,000 doses across the county, Rodowicz said.

Baker praised the efforts of the regional collaborations in Berkshire and Barnstable counties, although these collaborations got under way as they saw a shortage of vaccination sites in their communities as the state rollout began.

Five months later, the vaccine rollout in Massachusetts seems less “bumpy,” a term Baker used in the plan’s early months. Several regional collaborators administer doses across Massachusetts, as well as community health centers, retail pharmacies, long-term care facilities, and mass vaccination sites run by private vendors.

This week, Massachusetts received 348,000 first and second doses from the federal government.

The largest amounts have gone to hospital systems, health care providers and private mass immunization sites. Health care providers and mass vaccination sites each received 122,000. Regional collaborations and local health councils received 76,000. Mobile clinics that support long-term facilities, collective care , housing for the elderly and home vaccination programs received 2,000.

Community health centers and retail pharmacies received some of the smaller allocations – 22,000 and 4,500 doses, respectively – but Baker noted that they receive additional doses directly from the federal government.

Despite the limited supply, Baker remains confident that almost anyone who wants a vaccine will be vaccinated by the end of June. If the state receives more doses, Baker believes Massachusetts could reach that milestone earlier in June.

During his visit to the Pittsfield vaccination site, Baker said Massachusetts had the lowest vaccine reluctance rate in the country, citing figures released by the Centers of Disease Control. Each county reported a reluctance rate of less than 10%.

“If they have conditions that deny doses or don’t accept doses, we would be quite happy to get them out of their hands and make sure they use up quickly,” he said. , “Because we have very little hesitation about vaccination. . and a lot of demand.

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