DiDomenico, state legislators shocked by unprepared vaccine rollout

A number of state legislators, including Sen. Sal DiDomenico, are voicing shock over the lack of preparedness for the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine to the public.
DiDomenico said at first only about 50 percent of the vaccine sent was being used, with the rest being stored up in order to strictly follow the priority protocols prescribed by Gov. Charlie Baker. This week, he said the numbers are up to around 70 percent, but that still doesn’t excuse the fact that so many want the vaccine, there is ample supply, but most still cannot get it.
“I wasn’t surprised, but shocked at how many vaccines were in our hands and not distributed,” he said this week. “We’ve gotten better over the last several weeks, but the fact remains we have hundreds of thousands of doses still in our hands and not being used.”
DiDomenico said the fact that the state has had so long to prepare, and yet hasn’t managed the process well, is the most frustrating part to himself and his colleagues in the Legislature.
“We’re just more concerned about if you’re 75 or 65 or 61 than we are about getting shots in people’s arms,” he said. “We’ve had months to prepare for vaccination and the fact we weren’t prepared for this is unexplainable. The amount of time we had and to see it rolled out like this, and how confusing and inefficient it is, is unexplainable.”
Another major piece Sen. DiDomenico said he is concerned about is the lack of racial equity in the vaccine distribution process.
His sentiment isn’t alone in the State Legislature, as House Speaker Ron Mariano over the weekend voiced his displeasure with the rollout publicly on television. He said one of the frustrations is that a Commission was formed last summer to study the rollout and make recommendations. Not all of those recommendations were included in the priority document released by Gov. Baker in December.
Aside from that Commission, the Legislature was never consulted on the whole.
DiDomenico said it’s time to move forward and allow more groups, and that include educators.
“I have always felt the higher needs resident should go first, but we should also focus on educators who are on the front lines with students every day,” he said. “If they are going to go back to in-person learning, they should be vaccinated as well. You can’t have it both ways.”
In the end, he said the priority lists are being enforced too strictly, and it needs to be an effort where more people can get the vaccine quicker – especially since there is ample supply just sitting on the shelves right now, he said.
“Every day we delay is a day that could see more harm and potential death to residents in our community,” he said.
At the moment, those available to be vaccinated are those age 75 and older – as well as their younger caretakers – and groups that have previously gone through the effort, like health care workers and public safety officers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *