Health Experts Call on Mass. to Move Up Vaccine Eligibility

Massachusetts is one of just a handful of states sticking with a coronavirus vaccine eligibility date of April 19 as calls grow for Gov. Charlie Baker to move faster

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Massachusetts ranks among the first states in the nation for coronavirus vaccinations, but it will also be one of the last to make shots available to everyone. With variants spreading and cases rising in people who are younger, some public health experts are calling on Gov. Charlie Baker to move faster.

As other states move up the timeline for when the general public can get the COVID-19 shot, Massachusetts is one of a handful sticking with April 19, which is the latest universal eligibility date in the country.



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"I'm from Alabama and have a bunch of friends that have already gotten it, so I don't understand why I can't get it," Judah Mayowa said.

The wait has many frustrated and worried more people will lie about medical conditions just to get the shot sooner.

"It's still two more weeks, and if other states are opening up, Massachusetts should do it, as well," Shayna Scott said.

With many wondering why the state is waiting until April 19, NBC10 Boston asked Broad Institute scientist John Doench to weigh in.

"I think, to be honest, it's because Massachusetts has a very vaccine-excited population," Doench said. "We're very good at using our shots, which is a good thing."

NBC10 Boston asked Gov. Charlie Baker last week why he is not accelerating the rollout, especially as more vaccine becomes available.

"I think the schedule we've got in place is the right one," he said. "We've tried to make sure people who are eligible by these phases have an opportunity to get vaccinated before we go to the next phase."

Boston epidemiologist Sam Scarpino said he does not think that is a sufficient response. The assistant professor at Northeastern University said he has yet to get a clear explanation, but he would like to see the state move faster, especially as cases rise in people who are younger.

"We need to move with more urgency, and if the issue is time, let's have 24-hour vaccination clinics. There are people who will go and get vaccinated at all hours," Scarpino said.

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