Massachusetts ramping up efforts to vaccinate residents

Coronavirus Local Impact

Marty Martinez, left, Boston’s Chief of Health and Human Services and Stacey Kokaram, Director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness walk through the new COVID-19 vaccination site at the Reggie Lewis Center, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021, in Boston’s Roxbury section. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts is ramping up its vaccination efforts and is hoping to administer up to a million vaccines a month by the spring, Gov. Charlie Baker said Wednesday.

In the meantime, Baker urged residents to be patient. There are currently 125 sites up and running, including a handful of mass vaccination sites and sites at dozens of community health centers, the Republican said.

By the middle of the month, the number should increase to about 165. Baker said the state is also making an effort to increase vaccinations among those hardest hit by the pandemic, including Black residents.

The state is working with trusted organizations in local communities, and in Boston, the city is setting up specific days to vaccinate neighborhood residents, he said.

Baker made the comments at Fenway Park, which has been turned into a mass vaccination site. The ballpark is planning to ramp up to about 1,000 shots a day next week and 1,200 the following week with a goal of up to 8,000 doses a week in the near future, Baker said.

Baker said he understands many people want the process to go faster. “I get how unhappy people are,” he said.

He said that some of the frustration was because of the phased rollout that targeted specific groups first, like medical workers and those in long-term care facilities. But he also acknowledged there are extra steps the state can take, like launching a hotline to help people, especially seniors, who may have trouble signing up for an appointment online.

He said the hotline should be up and running this week. “We have work to do, and we know it,” he said.

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