Baker Could Send Guard to Fetch Delayed COVID Vaccine. Here's What to Know

An unknown number of coronavirus vaccines allocated for Massachusetts has been delayed until Monday, according to the state's COVID-19 Command Center

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Gov. Charlie Baker is considering sending the National Guard to pick up coronavirus vaccine doses, allocated for Massachusetts, that have been delayed until Monday.

Officials are working with providers to figure out how the delay might impact appointments that have already been scheduled, but people are encouraged to keep those appointments unless told otherwise by their provider.

"We can’t afford to go what will be almost a week without getting any new doses from the feds and continue to maintain the appointment schedules that people here expect and anticipate we’ll be able to maintain," Gov. Charlie Baker said.

Exactly how many doses were delayed remains unclear, but the state receives approximately 110,000 doses per week from the federal government. The administration said there were still "thousands" of vaccine doses in Massachusetts.

Severe winter weather is delaying delivery of COVID-19 vaccine across the country. The U.S. is now vaccinating 1.7 million people every day, but the Centers for Disease Control warns cases are dropping because we're coming off the holiday surge, not because more people are getting shots. They're also concerned that new strains of coronavirus could push those numbers back up.

The federal government told the state's COVID-19 Command Center Wednesday night that there may be a "significant delay" in the next shipment of vaccine as the southern part of the country deals with unusually cold and wintry weather. But federal authorities have since said the cause of the delay is related to staffing shortages at the vaccine manufacturing facilities.

On Thursday, Baker said he and other governors had requested permission to send the National Guard to Kentucky and Tennessee, where the vaccine is being manufactured, to pick up the doses and and bring them back. It is unclear whether that request was denied, but administration officials said late Thursday that the Guard had yet to be activated.

Baker reached out to federal officials upon learning of the delay and offered to help in order to avoid disruption, according to a spokesperson for the Command Center.

"The Administration is imploring the federal government to do everything in its power to rectify the delay immediately," the spokesperson said.

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