At least some of the COVID-19 vaccine doses that the state said Thursday would not arrive here until Monday, a little more than 135,000 doses, arrived in Massachusetts on Friday, enough to ensure that providers will not have to cancel vaccination appointments, the state’s COVID-19 Command Center said Friday afternoon.
“Governor Baker and the Command Center have been in constant communication with federal officials to rush vaccine shipments to Massachusetts. Today, 135,025 arrived to the Commonwealth and as a result, providers will not have to cancel appointments,” Command Center spokesperson Kate Reilly said.
“The Administration appreciates the efforts made to get this critical shipment here and is not anticipating additional delays from the federal government for vaccine shipments at this time,” Reilly added.
State Rep. Tami Gouveia said Friday it’s great news the vaccines arrived in Massachusetts.
On Thursday, Gov. Charlie Baker said the wintery weather across the south was threatening to delay part of the state’s weekly vaccine shipment from the federal government and said he had requested permission to send the National Guard to Kentucky and Tennessee to pick up and bring back the state’s doses.
Officials are working with providers to figure out how the delay might impact appointments that have already been scheduled, but people are encouraged to keep those appointments unless told otherwise by their provider.
It is unclear whether that request was denied, but administration officials said late Thursday afternoon that the National Guard had not been activated.
Later Thursday, the state said the problem was actually staffing shortages at vaccine manufacturing facilities and that the partial shipment would be delayed until Monday.
With the expectation that the doses would be delayed until Monday, the Command Center had begun working with providers to determine how the delay would affect appointments that were already booked.
“In the meantime, while you’re waiting, you’re probably about 85-percent protected, even with just the one dose,” Boston University epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Linas said.
Linas is referencing a pair of studies — one done in Israel and the other in the U.K. — that found that just a single shot is enough to offer serious protection.
“After 14 days, it looks like these vaccines are between 75 and 85 percent effective at preventing COVID before a person even gets the second dose,” Linas said.
But Linas cautions, that doesn’t mean you should forget about getting your second dose because it works a bit differently than the first one.
Massachusetts had been getting a weekly allotment of about 110,000 doses from the federal government, but that is set to rise to about 139,000 next week. It is unclear whether the 135,025 doses that arrived Friday is the state’s entire weekly allotment.