BOSTON — On Wednesday afternoon, Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker and his administration announced a detailed plan for the distribution of an FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine in Massachusetts. The plan is broken down into three phases in order of recipient priority, with the last phase set to begin near the mid-way point of 2021.
The distribution plan is broken down into the following phases and their associated timelines:
- Clinical and non-clinical health care workers doing direct and COVID-19-facing care
- Long-term care facilities, rest homes and assisted-living facilities
- Police, fire and emergency medical services
- Congregate care settings, including corrections and shelters
- Home-based health care workers
- Health care workers doing non-COVID-19-facing care
- Most health care workers and first responders will be vaccinated at their place of employment or have their employer otherwise coordinate their vaccination.
- Individuals living and working in long-term care will be vaccinated as part of the Federal Pharmacy Partnership Program.
- Vaccinations for individuals in other congregate settings -- like group homes, shelters and corrections -- will be coordinated by the management of those facilities.
- Many additional vaccination administration sites will be made available for other populations.
- The vaccine is expected to be available to the general public
- Once the vaccine is available to the general public, public vaccine clinics will be available on the CDC’s interactive website: vaccinefinder.org. You will also be able to check with your primary care provider, local pharmacy or local health department.
“While all delivery dates and quantities are subject to change due to ongoing federal approval and allocation, the Administration plans to receive and distribute over 2 million doses to priority population groups by the end of March,” the Baker-Polito Administration announced in a press release Wednesday.
Both the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines require two doses administered three-to-four weeks apart. The first shipments of vaccine to Massachusetts are expected to contain doses manufactured by both companies, as both are pending FDA emergency use authorization.
“Massachusetts will not distribute the COVID-19 vaccine until it receives this authorization,” the administration said.
“The FDA, which approves the vaccine, and the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices [ACIP], which will make its recommendation for use, must ensure any vaccine is both safe and effective for the public before approval and distribution.”
The state ordered their first shipment of vaccine — 59,475 doses — from the federal government on Friday, Dec. 4. Those doses will be distributed to 21 hospitals across eight counties in Massachusetts and to the Department of Public Health Immunization Lab.
Following that first delivery, doses will be redistributed to 74 hospitals across 14 counties in Massachusetts for frontline health care workers. Then, 40,000 doses will be given to the Federal Pharmacy Program so that residents and staff of, “skilled nursing facilities, rest homes and assisted living residences” can be vaccinated.
“Vaccine is being prioritized for these groups to maximize life preservation and to support the health care system,” the Baker-Polito Administration announced. “Based on information at this time, Massachusetts is expecting 300,000 first doses of the vaccine to be delivered by the end of December.”
Those distribution plans are set to begin around December 15, the administration announced.
“The infectious disease experts in the state’s academic medical centers have pledged to review the [emergency use authorization] data and provide an independent opinion about their safety and efficacy,” the Baker-Polito administration wrote in their release Wednesday.
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