Charlie Baker to map out coronavirus vaccine plan for police, EMS, firefighters next week

Police, firefighters and emergency medical services personnel will have to wait until next week to find out when and where they can expect coronavirus vaccines, Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration said.
“This is a great example where one size fits all is not the right answer and we need to make sure that we do something that we believe can work administratively and from a reporting point of view, but will also work for the fact that we have a lot of different ways of organizing and structuring how first responders operate and how their programs are administered,” Baker said Wednesday.
Baker said there are “two big issues” that need to be settled before they can give first responders a definitive answer on when and where they’ll get their shots.
First, the state needs to know how many vaccines they’ll have and at what time. Allocation totals have seesawed back and forth since the beginning of December and as the scarcity of the vaccines dictates distribution. Baker said earlier this month the state would receive 37.5% fewer Pfizer vaccines but on Wednesday, he said the state would get the 300,000 combined doses from Pfizer and Moderna initially promised after all.
The second issue will be crafting a plan to get vaccines to the many organizations that compose the first responder network in Massachusetts, he said.
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the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security is meeting with local leaders on Thursday to draft a plan that will likely rely on local boards of Health to bring doses to the rank and file — something first responders and elected officials are skeptical of.
On Tuesday, Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts union President Richard MacKinnon Jr. called out a “lack of coordination and communication” so far by the state.
State Rep. Harold P. Naughton Jr. followed up with a letter to Baker that a dozen other legislators singed onto blasting the administration for “little to no information provided as to when vaccines will be provided to fire, law enforcement and emergency personnel (other than inclusion in Phase 1 and a general timeline of December to February). Nor has sufficient guidance been provided as to how vaccines will be administered to these groups.”
Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said the purpose of Thursday’s meeting us to discuss draft plans “and obviously make modifications in response to feedback.”
Vaccines are in high demand as the state braces for infections to spike following the holidays, placing “the most severe constraints on staffing and capacity” in hospitals that since Thanksgiving have seen a 129% increase in coronavirus hospitalizations, Sudders said.

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