Baker: 2M In State Should Be Fully Vaccinated By End Of Week

BOSTON (AP) — As many as 2 million Massachusetts residents could be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of the week, Gov. Charlie Baker said Monday.

Already nearly 1.8 million residents have received first and second doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which requires just one shot.

Baker said the state is on track to cross the 2 million mark by week’s end, even with a temporary shortage of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The state has the infrastructure needed to administer several times the amount of vaccine it is being provided by the federal government, Baker said.

“Unfortunately, we’ve been told by the federal government that shipments, especially with respect to the J&J vaccine, will be much lower this week after we received a one-time increase last week,” the Republican said.

Beginning April 19, anyone in Massachusetts 16 years old and older who has not received a vaccine dose will be allowed to preregister.

That doesn’t mean an immediate vaccine appointment however, in part because many of the vaccines being administered are second doses for those who have already received a first dose, Baker said.

The ultimate goal is to get as many vaccine doses as possible from the federal government, he said.

“At this point the goal should be pedal to the metal everywhere,” he said.

Baker also defended the phased-in approach the state has taken with vaccines, focusing first on the most vulnerable populations.

That has translated into plunging hospitalization and death rates among older residents, who are among the most vulnerable to serious outcomes if infected with the disease caused by the coronavirus, he said.

Baker made the comments during a visit to a Worcester health center, where he also marked the 15 anniversary of the state’s landmark health care law that has expanded health care access to about 97% of the state population.

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JOHNSON & JOHNSON VACCINE

Massachusetts along with every other state get is getting a drastically lower shipment of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine this week because of a manufacturing error at a Maryland plant.

The state got almost 104,000 doses of the vaccine last week but is scheduled receive only 12,300 doses this week, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nationwide, allocations of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine were expected to plummet 86% this week, according to CDC data.

The company is pledging to resolve the manufacturing issues and is still seeking to meet a goal of delivering 100 million vaccine doses by June.

Nearly 1.6 million people in Massachusetts have already been vaccinated, according to the latest state Department of Public Health data.

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VIRUS BY THE NUMBERS

The number of new daily cases of COVID-19 increased by about 1,400 Monday while the number of newly confirmed coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts rose by 19.

The new numbers pushed the state’s confirmed COVID-19 death toll to 17,061 since the start of the pandemic, while its confirmed caseload rose to about 621,000.

The true number of cases is likely higher because studies suggest some people can be infected and not feel sick.

There were about 700 people reported hospitalized Monday because of confirmed cases of COVID-19, with about 160 in intensive care units.

The average age of those hospitalized was 61. There were an estimated 37,000 people with current active cases of COVID-19 in the state.

There were 9,016 probable or confirmed COVID-19 deaths reported in long-term care facilities.

More than 4.5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Massachusetts, including more than 2.7 million first doses and more than 1.6 million second doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

Nearly 1.8 million people have been fully immunized.