BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — The Baker Administration has announced when individuals in Massachusetts will receive the first doses of the coronavirus vaccine, set to begin Tuesday December 15th.
Gov. Baker said Wednesday Pfizer's two-dose COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed in phases to all residents free of charge, starting with the state's "highest-risk and highest-need individuals."
Next Tuesday, front line medical workers will become the first people in the state to receive the first part of the two-dose vaccine. That includes all clinical and non-clinical healthcare workers doing direct and COVID-facing care.
The state’s first shipment includes 59,475 doses of the vaccine, which was ordered from the federal government last Friday. Those doses will be delivered directly to 21 hospitals across 8 counties in the Commonwealth, and to the Department of Public Health Immunization Lab. Doses will then be redistributed for access to 74 hospitals across all 14 counties for front line medical workers.
The next 40,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine will be allocated to the Federal Pharmacy Program to begin vaccinating staff and residents of skilled nursing facilities, rest homes and assisted living residences.
"The vaccine is being prioritized for these groups to maximize life preservation and to support the health care system," Baker said. "Based on information at this time, Massachusetts is expecting 300,000 first doses of the vaccine to be delivered by the end of December. The first vaccines, manufactured by Moderna and Pfizer, will require two doses administered 3-4 weeks apart."
Here is the state's anticipated timeline for Vaccination Phases:
Phase One (December 2020-February 2021) in order of priority:
- Clinical and non-clinical healthcare workers doing direct and COVID-facing care
- Long term care facilities, rest homes and assisted living facilities
- Police, Fire and Emergency Medical Services
- Congregate care settings (including shelters and corrections)
- Home-based healthcare workers
- Healthcare workers doing non-COVID facing care
Phase Two (February 2021-April 2021) in order of priority:
- Individuals with 2+ co-morbidities (high risk for COVID-19 complications)
- Early education, K-12, transit, grocery, utility, food and agriculture, sanitation, public works and public health workers
- Adults 65+
- Individuals with one comorbidity
Phase Three (from April 2021 forward)
- Vaccine available to general public
"Vaccine distribution will be a long process that plays out over several months," Baker said. "These timelines could changes based on production."
Baker said the first shipments of the vaccine are expected to contain doses manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna. While both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are pending FDA emergency use authorization, Massachusetts will not distribute the COVID-19 vaccine until it receives this authorization.
Baker added that vaccines go through extensive testing, more than any pharmaceuticals, including extensive testing in clinical trials.
"Vaccines will be safe," Baker said. "No one would distribute them if they weren't."
The FDA, which approves the vaccine, and the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which will make its recommendation for use, must ensure any vaccine is both safe and effective for the public before approval and distribution.