BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — More than 20 Massachusetts state lawmakers have signed a letter to Governor Charlie Baker, asking him to reconsider several aspects of the state's Covid-19 vaccine rollout.
The letter takes aim at Curative, the company that is behind vaccine sites at a number of locations, including in Danvers and Springfield.
Lawmakers said the Danvers site has seen particularly long waiting lines, especially on Wednesday, when clinicians reportedly told patients to contact people they know to come receive unclaimed vaccine doses, leaving senior patients with appointments waiting outside in cold temperatures.
"[Curative] claims to be 'a leader in on-demand public health service programs…[that] partners with communities to strengthen public health services with turn-key programs, easy-to-access experiences, and scalable infrastructure,'" the letter read. "Yet [the company] was founded less than a year ago and has a very limited track record of humanely and equitably providing such complicated logistical public health services required for a large-scale vaccination program."
The group -- including Acton State Representative Dr. Tami Gouveia -- is also asking the Governor to pause the "caregiver/companion" policy for those 75 years old and older, claiming it does little to address issues of mobility and logistics.
According to the Baker administration, the policy, which went into effect this week, allows people accompanying a Phase II senior getting their Covid-19 shot to also get a vaccine dose on the same day.
While the program was originally designed for companions like spouses, neighbors or children of senior residents -- a wave of online advertisements quickly started appearing on Reddit and Craigslist of people offering to give seniors rides in exchange for the shot -- with some saying they would even pay them money for the opportunity.
"The strategy allows healthy, younger residents to get vaccinated ahead of seniors, essential workers, and others most at-risk of death/illness," Gouveia tweeted.
The letter instead suggested that the state pursue a "wait list" system to make sure that vaccine doses are not going to waste.
"Individuals can sign up to attend a last minute appointment if there are cancellations and extra vaccines that must be used," the letter read. "Elders, essential workers, and people with comorbidities could be prioritized in this wait list system."
WBZ NewsRadio's Karyn Regal (@Karynregal) reports.