Vaccine shipment delayed due to storm, staffing shortages

WHITMAN, Mass. — While the state will get thousands of COVID-19 vaccine doses in its anticipated shipment, a delay will mean part of it won’t come until Monday, according to a news release by the COVID-19 Command Center.

“Governor Baker reached out directly to federal officials upon learning of the delay to offer any assistance the Commonwealth could provide to avoid this disruption,” said a Command Center Spokesperson. “The Administration is imploring the federal government to do everything in its power to rectify the delay immediately.”

Vaccine inventory is being shifted between sites to fulfill existing appointments, according to the Command Center.

The state is asking people with appointments to go to them unless a provider notifies them about a change.

In Whitman, numerous local leaders including first responders, boards of health, and elected leaders called on the governor to change course in the state’s new strategy to re-direct vaccine supply from communities that were administering it to their older residents, in favor of mass vaccination sites.

“It is highly premature to cut off the local supply of vaccine doses especially at this most critical time,” said Timothy Grenno, Chief of the Whitman Fire Department.

Whitman has to cancel four vaccination clinics after learning the supply would soon be gone.

The Knights of Columbus building is serving as a site for first responders receiving their second dose, and two more clinics are planned but after Thursday, the site will shut down, unless the state changes course.

Governor Charlie Baker and health officials chose to re-direct some of the allotment from local sites and hospitals to mass vaccination sites to boost efficiency.

The problem for Paul Ellsworth who needs assistance and lives in a public housing facility is that he cannot get to a vaccination site, his vaccination appointment in Whitman was canceled.

“I’m in a wheelchair, and a lot of people (here) are elderly, they can’t drive, they’re afraid to get of their house because of the virus.”

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