Massachusetts to reach milestone in vaccination effort as another variant spreads

BOSTON — Massachusetts will set another milestone on Tuesday, fully vaccinating 1.5 million people. About 20% of the state is now fully vaccinated with almost four million doses of the vaccine given.

Massachusetts ranks first for people with one or more doses per capita among states with five million people or more.

But the race to get residents the shot comes as another variant is starting to spread.

Doctors are now contending with the highly contagious Brazilian variant. According to the CDC, there are 58 cases of the variant in Massachusetts, which is the third highest in the country behind Florida and Illinois. The variant was first detected on the Cape in late February and was linked to a super spreader event.

What researchers are still trying to figure out is how easily the variants are transmitted and if the vaccines are effective at preventing them.