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Gov. Charlie Baker gets his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at the mass vaccination site at the Hynes Convention Center on Tuesday after becoming eligible this week. Baker is urging residents to wait their turn and not jump the line. Everyone over age 16 will be eligible April 19.

Baker: Vaccine-Eligible Community Should Find Appointments Before April 19

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
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REVERE, Mass. — Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday urged Bay State residents currently eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations to find appointments before eligibility opens up to everyone 16 and older later this month.
 
"If you are over the age of 65, if you're over the age of 55, I think it would be great if you signed up, pre-registered, got an appointment to get vaccinated now that it's your turn," Baker said. "Because you are, based on all the data associated with vulnerable populations, among the most at risk when it comes to dealing with COVID.
 
"We're thrilled that we're over 80 percent with that population. We're above the national average. But that still means there are a bunch of folks who are quite elderly who haven't signed up yet. I'm sure we'll find some of them with the homebound programming we're doing. I'm sure we'll find some of them with the work we're doing in congregate care facilities.
 
"But if you're one of those older folks, I really recommend you sign up and get vaccinated."
 
To make it easier to find those appointments, Baker said the state continues to modify its online reservation system. About 1.5 million Massachusetts have used the commonwealth's registration system, and about 800,000 of those people have been contacted to book appointments, he said.
 
This week, two more regional collaboratives, including the one in Amherst and Northampton, were added to the registration system, and Baker said the state this month will be adding that function to more regional collaboratives.
 
Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito were in Revere on Wednesday to tour a vaccination site at the Oceanside Events Center and tout the administration's efforts to reach out to communities hardest hit by the pandemic.
 
Baker said that he felt fine after receiving his COVID-19 vaccination on Tuesday and pushed for everyone who can receive a vaccination to do so. He said the commonwealth has the capacity to deliver two or three times more doses per day and once again said he hopes the supply received from the federal government will soon match that capacity.
 
Baker also had a message for those who would "game the system" and get a shot before they are eligible.
 
After saying that "line jumping" has been rare throughout the commonwealth, Baker implored anyone who is tempted to cheat to instead follow the rules and wait their turn.
 
"There's a reason why we have a process here," Baker said. "And I've had people say to me, 'In a lot of other states, everyone is eligible.' Well, most of those states where everyone is eligible, we've vaccinated a greater portion of our population than they have. It's just that we've vaccinated more of what I consider the folks who are most at risk to suffer hospitalization or worse when it comes to COVID.
 
"The one thing I would say about the vaccine program is that it is a limited supply program, which is why we have the criteria in the first place. If you cut the line and you're not eligible, you're basically taking a vaccine away from somebody who probably is vulnerable and probably ought to get the vaccine before you do."

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Williams Women's Tennis Closes With Win

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- The Williams College women's tennis team played its last match of the season this weekend, competing against Middlebury for the second weekend in a row. Though Williams experienced a loss last weekend, it got revenge by pulling out a close 5-4 win with more than half of the singles matches going into third set tiebreakers.
 
Williams had a strong start in doubles, winning both matches. Number one doubles Zoë Bennett and Jenny Tian won at 8-4, a similar score as last weekend. At number two doubles was Julia Pham and Erica Ekstrand, who reversed the score on their Middlebury opponents from last weekend to win the match, 8-6.
 
This sent Williams into singles with lots of momentum and positive energy. Ekstrand pulled out a quick win on court one, while Tian lost a tough match to her opponent on court number two. Meanwhile, courts three, four, and five were in battles, each going to a third set tiebreaker. Bennett and Pham finished around the same time, with Pham winning her tiebreaker, 10-8, and Bennett falling at the same score. Maya Jamroz was the last court on at number five. With all eyes on her, she won the third set tiebreaker, 10-7, to clinch the match for Williams.
 
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