SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus has eclipsed 300,000 just as vaccinations begin across the country.
The COVID-19 vaccines have arrived in Massachusetts and now hospitals are working to distribute the shots to their workers. The vaccine is already in Boston, and the first batch is expected to arrive in Springfield Tuesday.
“I want to see first how it goes,” Holyoke resident Yuliana Rodriguez said.
While some are still nervous about a COVID-19 vaccine, the rollout this week is swift. A limited number of first doses will go to the most vulnerable populations. Phase 1 includes healthcare workers and the elderly living in nursing homes.
The first shots will be administered on Wednesday, a day after arriving in western Massachusetts.
“We are going to be giving out all the vaccines we get in this first shipment and expect weekly shipments after that,” Baystate Health President and CEO Dr. Mark Keroack said.
Phase 2 is expected to start in February. Teachers and those over 65 will get their shots. Then it’s off to Phase 3, which includes the general public and will likely be in April. Rodriguez told 22News she’s not opposed to getting the vaccine, but she’d rather wait to see how others respond to the shot.
“I got to see how people react to it. And maybe yeah, I’ll think about it,” Rodriguez said.
For the vaccine to be effective, more than 70 percent of the public needs to get the vaccine.
Massachusetts is a national leader in immunizations. Local hospital officials are hopeful residents of the Commonwealth will line up for the vaccine once it’s their turn, eventually ending the pandemic.
Once the vaccine is available to the general public, it will be available at local drugstores. Walgreens, CVS, and Big Y said they will have the vaccine.