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Vaccinations Open to All Adults April 19; State Getting Boost in Vaccine Doses

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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BOSTON — All residents ages 16 and older will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine on Patriots Day, April 19. 
Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday morning announced new dates of eligibility for those ages 60, 55, with certain medical conditions and employed in specified occupations. 
Speaking at the Brockton Neighborhood Health Center, the governor said states were informed of the increased doses during a call with federal officials on Tuesday night. 
"The news about the arrival of more vaccine from the federal government means we will be able to move faster to get doses to our residents, and this is long overdue and welcome," he said.
While good news, the governor said again that the ability to get shots in arms was wholly dependent on vaccine distribution from the federal government and will take months to complete.
"Everyone who wants a vaccine will get one. And practically no other state in America is moving as quickly as we are, and as equitably as we are here," he said. "In 24 hours, we expect to go over 1 million Massachusetts residents, fully vaccinated against this terrible virus that obviously is a significant milestone for the people of Massachusetts."
The state is expecting first doses next week of approximately 170,000, up from the 130,000 to 145,000 it has been getting. This includes an unexpected 8,000 doses of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
In total, the state will receive 316,000 first and second doses as part of the state allocation. This does not include about 116,000 doses to the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program and Federally Qualified Health Centers.
Regional collaboratives and local boards of health are getting 59,580 doses and mass vaccinations will receive almost double that at 101,890.
"We're also taking an additional step to prioritize people who are 60 and older, and people who are 55 and older," Baker said in referring to the new eligibility dates. "There's a very strong and important correlation between COVID and age. And we believe adding these groups by age will help us vaccinate more of our most vulnerable population faster." 
The full timeline is available at
March 22: Residents ages 60 and older and certain workers, including those employed in all aspects of food service, grocery, transit, medical supply chains, and vaccine development. 
April 5: Residents ages 55 and older or with one listed medical condition, such as cancer, pregnancy asthma or chronic kidney disease. 
April 19: Anyone age 16 and older. 
"I take a lot of comfort in the fact that 75 percent of the people over the age of 75 in Massachusetts at this point are vaccinated and then around two-thirds of the people over the age of 65 are vaccinated and that many people who work in congregate care of one kind or another and who live in congregate care have been able to get vaccinated," the governor said.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders also announced the release of $27.4 million in federal funds to the administration's Vaccine Equity Initiative.
"The funding will be used to increase trust, vaccine acceptance and administration rates as part of the administration's vaccine equity initiative and to meet the needs of high risk populations," said Sudders. "We must be intentional and public about steps in order to be equitable."
These funds will go to community health centers, faith-based and community organizations who are able to reach people who may be leery of accessing conventional vaccine settings for a variety of reasons, or who lack the ability or support to signup. These individuals include homeless people, those with serious mental illness or who are undocumented.
The governor urged people to continue to follow pandemic guidelines and get tested if you have symptoms or may have been in contact with someone who has symptoms or tested positive. Testing is free at numerous sites around the state.
"We're all eager to get back to something like normal, and see our friends and loved ones again, the vaccines can't come fast enough, but it's important we don't forget the COVID is still very much with us, and that it's going to be with us for the foreseeable future," the governor said. 

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North Adams Vaccine Clinic Passes 16,000 Doses Given

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — More than 16,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered through the Northern Berkshire vaccine clinic.
Board of Health Chairman John Meaney, who as general manager of Northern Berkshire EMS has been part of the group operating the clinic, said it wasn't clear how many North Adams residents that included. 
As of last week, more than 5,000 residents in North Adams and Clarksburg had received at least one dose. The state tracks inoculations by ZIP code, which the city and town share, and may also include the town of Florida. The Berkshire Vaccine Collaborative is open to any Massachusetts residents and those who work or attend school here but reside in other states.
The clinic has been able to administer double the number of doses when it first opened, with more than 1,500 per clinic last week. But the number is dependent on the doses the collaborative gets from the state.
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