Berkshire reps concerned by vaccine supply

Berkshire County

BOSTON (SHNS) – A trio of Berkshire County lawmakers wrote to Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders on Friday, flagging their concerns with declining numbers of vaccine doses allocated for their region amid rising COVID-19 case numbers.

Describing the letter in a Facebook post-Sunday, Rep. John Barrett said he and Reps. William “Smitty” Pignatelli and Paul Mark had been expressing those concerns about a reduction in doses to the Department of Public Health for weeks.

“We all understand there is not enough vaccine to fully vaccinate everyone now, but what isn’t understood is why should the collaboratives, who have proven they know how to get people vaccinated, play second fiddle to these private vendors who are receiving millions of dollars to run these state sites at the expense of the taxpayer, while the collaboratives are paid nothing!

And what cannot be forgotten is the positive testing rate for Berkshire County has gone from 1.3% to 5%-nearly double the State rate,” Barrett wrote.

During a visit Tuesday to the mass vaccination site at Boston’s Hynes Convention Center — where support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency is expected to boost capacity from 1,000 shots per day to 7,000.

Baker was asked about the lawmakers’ letter and said that Berkshire County “is right behind Barnstable County in terms of who’s ahead with regard to vaccinating the largest percentage of their population in Massachusetts.”

“I know the folks in the command center are on the phone every single day with those folks, and I’m not even sure they knew that letter was coming. We’ll obviously respond to it,” Baker said, pointing to “a lot of dialogue” and a “very positive” relationship between his team and those involved in Berkshire County vaccination efforts.

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