Gov. Baker stresses importance of seamless presidential transition amid COVID-19 pandemic

State to vaccinate those in congregate care sites, prisons

BOSTON — The governor announced congregate facilities, including prisons and shelters, are next up to be vaccinated, which will begin next week. But he also made it clear it is more critical than ever to make sure the transition in Washington D.C. happens seamlessly, especially to avoid upending progress here in Massachusetts.

Security is tight days before Inauguration Day in the nation’s capital. We are now learning that officials there have asked Massachusetts for several hundred National Guardsmen to help.

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“We have had an ask from Washington to support a fairly significant request for guard personnel in our nation’s capital, and we are currently processing that,” Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker said.

The governor told Boston 25 News that, after a morning call with federal, state and local officials, there is no know or credible threat here right now. Gov. Baker also made it clear how critical a smooth transition in Washington is during this pandemic.

“I don’t want this thing to go from here to here in the course of a new administration taking office,” the governor said.

The bumpy vaccine rollout has partly been blamed on the piece-meal distribution of vaccine to states. Massachusetts is getting ready to begin vaccinating prisons, shelters and other congregate facilities.

“This stuff comes in batches of 40-to-50,000, 75,000 with a couple days of lead time, and then we work to fill in the distribution channel as they become available,” Gov. Baker said.

The hope is if more vaccines are released at once they will get a better projection to plan from.

“We really need this transition to be as clean and coordinated, especially with all of these issues with COVID,” the governor said.

As of right now with the current administration’s vaccine distribution plan, the state believes Phase 2 will begin on time in February. That’s when we would begin to see more group categories in the general public, including teachers and supermarket workers.

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