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Massachusetts shifts COVID vaccine supply from hospitals to state-run sites

Written by on February 13, 2021

Massachusettscoronavirus vaccination effort hit another speedbump this week as state officials started to shift its vaccine doses from hospital networks to state-run sites, according to reports. 

The Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association sent a message to its members advising them not to schedule further appointments for first doses of the vaccine. The state had previously distributed as much as 48% of its vaccine supply to hospitals.

A state spokeswoman told the Boston Globe that people who already have appointments won’t be affected by the change.

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“All patients and hospital staff with existing appointments will get their first and second shots, and the administration is hopeful more vaccines will arrive soon for more providers, including hospital systems,” a spokeswoman for the state’s COVID-19 Response Command Center said in a statement.

Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration will instead focus its supplies on “mass vaccination sites, retail pharmacy sites, and community health centers until more vaccines are made available.”

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Several major health systems — including Beth Israel Lahey Health, Mass General Brigham and Tufts Medical Center — announced Thursday that they would immediately stop scheduling first-dose appointments, citing the state’s move to reduce private system supply, NBC Boston reported.

“We have always highly prioritized equity,” Dr. Tom Sequist, Mass General Brigham’s chief equity officer, told WBUR. “And we do look forward to partnering with the state around any plans it has in the distribution of vaccines and ensure that our hardest-hit communities can receive the vaccination.”

The state has only recently run into problems with its vaccine supply, and the Baker administration hopes the new Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine will boost the vaccination effort.

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Baker has been criticized for the pace of the vaccine rollout, with a state update Thursday showing that only 68% of doses received by the state have been administered.

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