BOSTON (State House News Service) — Gov. Charlie Baker said Wednesday that 120,000 new appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations will be made available for next week, including 55,000 at the state's four mass vaccination sites, as the state continued to scramble to improve the rollout of its vaccination program.
Baker toured the Fenway Park site on Wednesday where CIC Health is helping to vaccinate 500 people a day this week, and will increase its capacity to 1,000 people a day next week and eventually 1,250 people a day.
Baker said the state has made improvements to its vaccine website, adding an eligibility checker and the ability to search for sites by zip code, and will continue to work to make improvements. He also ticked through the various pharmacies, community health centers and retail store location where thousands of additional appointments are being added.
"I'm not happy with where we are. I know a lot of other people aren't either. We have work to do and we know that," Baker said, addressing questions about continued frustration with the ability to get an appointment and the struggles in reaching communities of color.
"One of the best things a good manager does is recognizes and understands that they have a problem and then busts their butt to figure out how to fix it," Baker said.
The White House announced Tuesday for the second week in a row that it would increase the vaccine allocation for states, this time to 10,500 for the next three weeks. Baker, however, said the state is still counting on receiving about 100,000 new doses for next week, which is up from the 80,000 the state received weekly before Biden took office.
The Biden administration will also begin on Feb. 11 to distribute a limited supply of vaccine to select retail pharmacy chains as part of the first phase of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. Baker said this, along with doses being reallocated from long-term care facilities serviced by CVS and Walgreens, will allow about 30 additional pharmacy sites to open next week with 21,000 appointments.
By Matt Murphy, State House News Service