22News live discussion on COVID-19 | The Vaccine

Coronavirus Local Impact

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Knowledge surrounding COVID-19 and the vaccine is continuing to evolve, 22News is working for you asking experts and government leaders the tough questions about the vaccines that are available and the vaccine rollout here in Massachusetts.

On Thursday, about 1 million new people who are 65 and older or individuals 16 and older who have two or more medical conditions became eligible for the vaccine for the first time, as well as staff and residents of low-income and senior affordable housing.

Below is a list of some of the questions 22News received about the COVID-19 vaccination phases, booking appointments, and distribution with the responses from local officials.

Dr. Keroack, Baystate Health President and CEO 

  • How does the COVID-19 vaccine work and why medical professionals are sure that it is safe?
  • There are two vaccines available to U.S. residents, Pfizer and Moderna. What is the difference between the two and is one considered better than the other?
  • Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is on the verge of emergency authorization. How is this vaccine different than Moderna and Pfizer?
  • Is one vaccine “less effective” than other?


  • How is Baystate Health doing in regards to the vaccine supply and are you meeting the demand?
  • What would happen if you take a different company’s vaccine for the second dose?
  • Could Johnson & Johnson’s “one shot” vaccine help speed up the process?
  • President Biden said the COVID vaccine will be widely available to the generic public by the end of July, enough to vaccinate every single American. Is that realistic?


  • Do you think its safe for students and teachers to be back in the classroom?
  • Should educators be prioritized higher in the state’s vaccine distribution list, and do you think it’s safe for them to go back to work without vaccines?
  • There is still no vaccine for children, is that something that will available in the near future?


  • Once you get vaccinated, how long does it take to work?
  • Can you still get COVID-19 once you’re vaccinated?
  • If you’re vaccinated, can you still carry or spread the virus?
  • if we can still spread, does this mean we need to continue to follow the same guidelines with mask wearing and social distancing?
  • Some vaccine appointments are being canceled due to weather, can you still get the second shot if it is after the three week allotted time?
  • What about the COVID-19 variant, are the vaccines effective against these new strains?
  • Will a one time vaccine be enough for a lifetime or will we need to get it every year?


  • Now that vaccinations are underway, when do you think it will be safe to travel?
  • When will it be safe for children to give a grandparent a hug, does it matter if the grandparent has been vaccinated?

Eric Lesser, State Senator

  • Massachusetts’ plan is very different from surrounding states where teachers, for example, are being vaccinated. Do you support our state’s plan or do you think other groups should have been eligible first?
  • What are you thoughts on the appointment process and what still needs to be changed?
  • Lawmakers plan to launch oversight hearings next week to examine the Baker Administration’s efforts on the vaccine rollout. What are your biggest concerns?


  • What’s being done to fix the vaccine registration process?
  • Why are people with asthma eligible to receive the vaccine?
  • How is the state planning to address the inequity in vaccine distribution between eastern and western Massachusetts?
  • Do you agree with the state’s decision to prioritize the mass vaccination sites instead of smaller community based sites?
  • The Town of Longmeadow had set up a vaccination site, only to be told the wouldn’t get doses, what are you hearing from your constituents?
  • Do you think local government should be given the opportunity to provide vaccines to residents?


  • Do you support the companion policy, allowing younger residents to get vaccinated if they accompany an adult 75 and older to a mass vaccination site?
  • Companion appointments are only for people 75 and over, not the 65 correct?
  • Is the state doing enough to ensure that the minority population is getting equal access to the COVID-19 vaccine?


  • Are you unsatisfied with the location of the mass vaccinations sites or do you think there would have been a better spot in western Massachusetts to have that site?
  • Do you know how Curative was selected as the company to run the mass vaccination site at the Eastfield Mall?
  • What are your thoughts on the operation at the Eastfield Mass vaccination site as a whole?
  • Would you like to see a second mass vaccination site set up in western Massachusetts or do you feel the Eastfield mall is enough?


  • What do you look forward to most about the end of all this, whether dining out at a restaurant with friends or even hugging a family member?

Mayor Sarno, Springfield

  • Springfield is among the 20 communities statewide that have been prioritized for a state effort to increase awareness and access to the covid-19 vaccine. What kind of help does the city need, and what are you expecting?
  • Do you think smaller vaccine sites are necessary in the city?
  • What are you hearing from community leaders about the efforts to make sure vulnerable communities have access to the vaccine?


  • What was your role in getting Curative protocols changed at the mass vaccination site in the Eastfield Mall?
  • Is there anything the city can do to help home-bound seniors or disabled people get the vaccine in their homes?
  • Tell us about what the City of Springfield has been doing to help its residents with the process of booking vaccine appointments.


  • What do you look forward to most about the end of all this, whether dining out at a restaurant with friends or even hugging a family member?

Dr. Roose, Mercy Medical Center Chief Medical Officer

  • What are your thoughts on how the state has prioritized the distribution list?
  • Do you think the state is moving fast enough on getting people vaccinated?
  • What is herd immunity? When will we reach that point?
  • What do you say to someone who is unsure about getting vaccinated?


  • If someone had COVID-19, should they still get the vaccine?
  • Should pregnant women get the vaccine?
  • Should someone with a serious kidney problem get vaccinated?
  • Is there anyone who should absolutely not get the vaccine?
  • Was the approval for the vaccines a normal timeline?
  • The mass vaccination site has an observation area for people to wait post-shot, is that typical for this type of vaccine?

Part 3

  • Hampden County still has one of the highest new case counts in the state, should we be prioritizing regionally?
  • A coalition of civil rights leaders says white residents have received 12 times more doses than black residents and 16 more times than latinx residents. Is this a trend you’ve noticed or something we should be concerned about?


  • When people get side effects, what is happening?
  • What are the most common side effects for people who get vaccinated?
  • How long do side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine last?
  • Is there anything you should do before you get vaccinated should we stay away from over the counter medicine like ibuprofen and acetaminophen?
  • Is it safe to take those medications afterwards?
  • What is the shelf life of COVID-19 vaccines?
  • Do vaccine sites have a certain amount of vaccines?
  • Can those vaccines not being used at vaccine sites be repurposed?


  • When is it safe to gather with family and friends indoors, does it make a difference if everyone is vaccinated?
  • When herd immunity is reached, COVID-19 won’t disappear outright, correct? Will we still see outbreaks?

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