Gov. Charlie Baker and other Massachusetts officials will update the public Tuesday on the state’s coronavirus vaccination plan, a day after announcing updates for first responders and people over 75 years old.

Baker is scheduled to hold a press conference at 10 a.m. after visiting the Baystate Medical Center in Springfield.

The scheduled remarks come after the governor on Monday announced that people age 75 or older had been moved higher up in the order of the state’s vaccination plan; and that first responders will begin receiving vaccination shots next week.

The 75-plus age group is now part of Phase 2, Group 1 in the rollout, joining people with two co-morbid conditions as those considered at high risk for complications from COVID-19. They had previously been listed later in Phase 2. (See Massachusetts’ full COVID vaccine timeline here.)

The change affects about 170,000 people and was recommended by the state’s advisory board.

But the next set of people who will receive the vaccine are the state’s roughly 45,000 first responders, the third of seven groups in Phase 1, who can begin to be vaccinated starting next Monday, Jan. 11.

Gov. Charlie Baker details vaccine distribution for first responders in Mass.

“Police officers, firefighters EMTs and all first responders work in risky situations every day and this vaccine will protect them from COVID and the terrible illness that can come with it,” Baker said during a press conference Monday.

There are three options for getting the vaccine, outlined on the state’s first responder vaccination website:

  • Departments that meet certain criteria, like being able to vaccinate at least 200 first responders and store the doses on-site, can administer the shots themselves. Some ambulance companies have already signed up, Sudders said.
  • More than 60 sites have been stood up to give first responders the vaccine. (See the list here.)
  • The state is working on developing four mass vaccination sites that can vaccinate up to 2,000 people per day, the details of which are still yet to be released. Baker said it’s likely those sites would continue to be used after first responders are vaccinated.

The president of the Massachusetts firefighters union said the mass vaccination sites will likely include Fenway Park, Gillette Stadium and the Big E fairgrounds. Asked to confirm those locations, Baker and Sudders said they are still waiting for contracts to be signed before sharing more information later this week.

Firefighters have criticized the intended approach for first-responder vaccination, saying that local boards of health “are not structurally prepared” for it. Baker has said the state’s approach will need to work from an administrative and data-reporting perspective, and take into account that communities structure their public safety programs in different ways.

The state on Monday confirmed 4,358 new cases of the virus, bringing the total to 375,455, and an additional 60 deaths brought the death toll to 12,401.

The percentage of coronavirus tests coming back positive, on average, has ticked up to 8.5%, the department said.

The number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 has increased again, to 2,339. Of those hospitalized, 423 were listed as being in intensive care units and 258 are intubated, according to the health department.

The Department of Public Health will be sharing a new interactive, user-friendly dashboard with information about COVID-19 in the state.

Baker said Monday the post-Christmas surge in coronavirus cases, which includes a record number of cases reported on Thursday, appears not to be as bad as the one Massachusetts had after Thanksgiving.

But he cautioned that the state still isn’t seeing the effects of New Year’s, and he noted that, “since Thanksgiving, the average age of the people who are being hospitalized has increased dramatically,” from about 60 to around 73.

“That has real consequences with respect to life and death,” the governor said.

Baker’s remakrs Tuesday come amid scrutiny nationwide over the slow rollout of coronavirus vaccines, but the governor says that the state hasn’t received any reports of doses being lost.

Despite some bumps in the road in the COVID-19 vaccine distribution process, Baker said Massachusetts has received the 287,000 doses it originally expected by the end of the year. Just over 116,000 doses have been confirmed as given out, though officials cautioned that there’s a lag in reporting when doses are administered and that some of the shots are reserved for second doses.

Governor Charlie Baker said that residents need to stay safe as we go into a new year.

Baker’s new coronavirus restrictions took effect last month in Massachusetts. They include a crack down on gatherings and businesses and a requirement that hospitals halt most elective surgeries.

Starting Dec. 26 and running until at least noon on Jan. 10, restaurants, movie theaters, performance venues, casinos, offices, places of worship, retail businesses, fitness centers, health clubs, libraries, golf facilities, driving and flight schools, arcades, museums, and “sectors not otherwise addressed” must limit their customer capacity to a maximum of 25%.

Beginning Saturday, Massachusetts businesses will only be able to operate at 25% capacity, down from 40%. The gathering limit is also being reduced to 10 people inside and 25 outside under Gov. Charlie Baker’s latest round of restrictions.

All indoor gatherings and events will be limited to 10 people, while all outdoor gatherings and events will be limited to 25 people. Workers and staff are excluded from events’ occupancy counts. The gatherings limit applies to private homes, event venues and public spaces.

Massachusetts hospitals must push back or cancel most elective inpatient invasive procedures that are nonessential as well, the state has announced.





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