Hampden delegation wants vaccine update

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (SHNS) – State lawmakers from Hampden County are drawing Gov. Charlie Baker’s attention to what they see as a “significant disconnect between upcoming vaccine eligibility in future phases and the capacity for widespread vaccine distribution.”

In a Friday letter to the governor, circulated by Sen. Eric Lesser and signed by 11 of his colleagues, the lawmakers ask for “increased coordination and preparation,” including an update for the delegation on the implementation and coordination of vaccine distribution for the vaccination plan’s upcoming second phase.

“Though we appreciate the logistical challenges in boosting capacity and expanding vaccination sites, it seems a Herculean task for Hampden County to logistically handle vaccinations for the 75 and older population alone once Phase Two begins, according to your timeline, as early as next month,” they wrote.

Calling for “fair and equitable access to vaccines” for regions that need it most, the letter says that Springfield was named the “Asthma Capital of the United States” in 2019 — it notes that asthma can lead to COVID-19 complications — and says that Hampden County is one of the state’s poorest, with the second-highest percentage of people of color.

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