SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – As Massachusetts gets set to fully reopen next month, vaccination rates continue to vary across the state, and Hampden County remain in dead last.
According to city leaders, vaccine accessibility is no longer an excuse and they’ve been happy with vaccination rates among older adults. They have been after younger people that are either delaying or refusing to get the shot.
“I do believe there is an urgency, here. We’ve been feeling it since last March.”
Vaccinations remain an urgent matter at this stage of the pandemic and in Massachusetts, progress has better than most states. Although, vaccination rates are vastly different depending on where you look.
Most counties are at or above 40 percent, in Hampden County they aren’t even a third of the way there yet.
“It boggles my mind. There are no excuses.” Springfield Mayor Sarno
Mayor Sarno told 22News this data led the city to change its vaccination campaign strategy, now going after those in the 18 to 35 age range.
“For some reason the young people feel invincible. So we targeting them with different PSA’s social influences.” Springfield Mayor Sarno
For those delaying vaccinations, health officials say there is a time crunch. The longer the virus circulates, the more opportunities for new variants to become vaccine resistant. We are seeing the devastating consequences in countries like India, without enough vaccines.
sotdr. robert roose : chief medical officer, mercy medical center
“We are in a different position because of vaccination, and because of vaccination alone. we can’t take that for granted.” Dr. Roose, Chief Medical Officer at Mercy Medical Center
Dr. Roose doesn’t believe there isn’t a magic percentage we will hit for herd immunity. With vaccinations going the way they are, Dr. Roose thinks we will get to a point where there are low levels of COVID-19, and it becomes a less threatening virus, that doesn’t cause severe symptoms.