Charlie Baker: Massachusetts to receive fewer Pfizer coronavirus vaccine doses than initially expected

Massachusetts now expects to receive 20% fewer doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine this month than initially expected, officials said Friday, expressing frustration while acknowledging the “ever-changing” nature of the historic rollout.
Gov. Charlie Baker said the feds alerted the state’s command center that the next few shipments of the Pfizer vaccine would include 42,900 doses instead of the just more than 59,000 the state had anticipated, though “at this time it’s not clear to us why the shipment amounts have been adjusted.” The same scenario is playing out in other states.
“We’re certainly frustrated that we won’t be receiving the amount that we expected in the first wave,” Baker said in a Friday press conference at the State House. “We’re working to get clarity on what this means, why it happens and how that bump will be dealt with along the way.”
Baker noted that state officials had expected the “initial rollout would be bumpy” and that he views the distribution issues now plaguing states across the country “to some extent as part of the lumpiness that comes with starting a program like this.” But he said he anticipates eventually “we’ll be receiving every bit as much as we are meant to receive.”
The Bay State now expects to receive 145,000 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine by the end of December, instead of an initially anticipated 180,000, Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said, noting it was about a 20% decline.
“The vaccine process, much like the pandemic itself, is fast-moving and ever-changing and we will continue to pivot as necessary,” Sudders said.
Baker said 59,475 doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine have been distributed to Massachusetts hospitals this week. Four hospitals received shipments on Monday, followed by 17 on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the state received another 19,050 doses and began distributing them to 10 smaller hospitals, with more distributions planned throughout the weekend.
So far, more than 6,200 vaccinations have been administered across the commonwealth.
“The doctors, nurses and medical workers receiving these first doses are also the same people who have been battling COVID and caring for our residents since this all began,” Baker said. “We think it’s great that they are among the first to receive the vaccine. It not only protects them but it protects the people that they take care of, it protects their families and it’s a huge step toward getting back to something a little more normal.”
Hospitals are reporting “overwhelming acceptance” from those eligible to receive shots, Baker said, adding that “this isn’t really surprising — these folks know more than almost anybody else how much trouble this particular virus can cause.”
The state will roll out a new weekly dashboard next Thursday with immunization data including total doses delivered and administered and geographic information.
Long-term care facilities will begin vaccinations the week of Dec. 28 through a federal partnership with CVS and Walgreens pharmacies. The state will follow that with shots for first responders, and is aiming to launch mass vaccination sites in January.

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