Massachusetts nearing Baker’s vaccination goal; no high-risk communities in state report

Health

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – State public health officials made an exciting announcement on our vaccination progress, as doses continue across the Commonwealth. Thanks to that progress, local cities and towns are seeing sustained success in containing the virus.

Public health officials say we are closing-in on Governor Charlie Baker’s goal of 4.1 million fully-vaccinated people in Massachusetts.

The state passed 3.9 million fully vaccinated residents on Thursday. Our daily pace has significantly slowed down, however, with just 31,000 shots administered on Thursday.

Still, Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders says she expects we will hit 4.1 million vaccinated people by the end of next week.

The high rate of vaccinations has numbers hitting all-time lows in the state’s cities and towns. For the second consecutive week, there were no communities in the state listed as high-risk (red category), and no communities in the moderate risk (yellow) category, either. That even includes Hampden County, which has the lowest vaccination rate in the state. In Springfield, there were just 134 new cases of the virus in the past two weeks.

Only three cities in western Massachusetts have enough cases to be recognized in the state risk assessment at all. Springfield, Holyoke, and West Springfield are all listed in the low risk (green) category.

The mask mandate is lifted, all business restrictions are gone, and the state of emergency in Massachusetts will expire in just 4 days. Now that the state is nearing it’s vaccination goal, some say COVID-19 is a thing of the past.

“It makes me feel better that they are hitting herd immunity with it, you know. It still makes a difference, it opens things up faster for everybody. I think that’s always a good thing,” said Thomas Hegman of Springfield.

While the state is close to their goal, just 50 percent of all eligible people in Hampden County are fully vaccinated, the lowest rate in the state.

“I wish everybody understands that this is your decision but in reality it’s needed. It’s low in our numbers in the Latino community, in the African American community,” said Jose Claudio, COO of New North Citizens Council.

The New North Citizens Council is working to educate those still hesitant about the vaccine. They are able to answer any questions in both English and Spanish. Throughout the area, the vaccine is widely available. At CVS, Walgreens, and the vaccination sites you can walk-in, no appointment is necessary.

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