Much has been said about getting students back to school quickly, but it is important that we do so safely. And in that regard, the legislature has been pushing the administration to enhance the safety of the experience by moving teachers to the front of the line on vaccine distribution. And we have called upon the administration to ramp up efforts to distribute vaccines at local distribution sites.
Click on the image to the right to see a copy of the letter from Rep. Roy and colleagues on the teacher vaccine priority issue. It was sent on February 10, 2021. The Speaker of the House has also called for teachers to be moved to the head of the line. You can view the Boston Globe story on that statement by clicking here. You can view his appearance on WCVB’s On the Record program by clicking here. In the image below, you can see the response we received from Secretary Sudders on February 23, 2021. The administration is again arguing that it is a supply issue, but promised to review the request.
We have also called for enhancement of local distribution efforts. In a February 3, 2021 letter, we reminded the Governor that some cities and towns (like Franklin and Medway) have the ability to set up local infrastructure to vaccinate residents in locations that are close to home and familiar to residents. We asked him to explain what is being done to empower willing health departments to become vaccine distribution sites. The administration responded saying that municipalities may propose regional collaborations that meet specific geographic needs identified by the state and must meet specific requirements including:
Have the capacity to vaccinate minimally 750 individuals per day, 5 days per week;
Serve unmet need geographically, as identified by the Department of Public Health;
Meet an administration rate threshold of 85% and report doses within 24 hours;
Serve all residents of the Commonwealth; collaborations may focus outreach efforts towards those who live or work in the area but must be open to all Massachusetts residents; and
Provide public links for vaccine appointments on Mass.gov/COVIDVaccine.
Finally, there is a legislative oversight hearing tomorrow at 11 am which you can read about by clicking here. The hearing will be livestreamed at: https://malegislature.gov/Events/SpecialEvents/Detail/374 so anyone is invited to watch. You mat also submit written electronic testimony via email to JointCommittee.COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org.
We will continue to push on this issue until everyone who wants to get vaccinated has an opportunity to do so.