Thousands of Vaccine Doses Arrive in Mass. After Threat of Shipment Delay

More than 135,000 vaccine doses have arrived in Massachusetts, three days earlier than expected.

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A little more than 135,000 coronavirus vaccine doses have arrived in Massachusetts, three days earlier than expected as weather conditions across the country had threatened to delay much needed shipments.

The Baker Administration originally anticipated they would not arrive until Monday, but doses arrived on Friday afternoon.

"As a result, providers will not have to cancel appointments," Command Center spokesperson Kate Reilly said on Friday.

"The Administration appreciates the efforts made to get this critical shipment here and is not anticipating additional delays from the federal government for vaccine shipments at this time," Reilly added.

Prior to the announcement, supply chain concerns caused the City of Framingham to call off Saturday's vaccination clinic.

Vaccine doses originally thought to be delayed until Monday have arrived in the Bay State.

Baker has come under fire for what some critics describe as a slow rollout of the state’s vaccination plan.

Hundreds of thousands of Bay Staters were unable to secure an appointment for the vaccine appointment after the state's vaccination sign up website crashed Thursday shortly after opening to people 65 and older.

"They did not plan at all they made no advance planning,” said Susan Labaire, who was among those waiting for a vaccine appointment.

State Rep. Tami Gouveia said it's great news the vaccine doses have arrived in Massachusetts.

State Rep. Tami Gouveia said it was great news that 135,000 delayed coronavirus vaccine doses arrived in Massachusetts three days earlier than expected.

On Thursday, Baker said the wintry weather across the south was threatening to delay part of the state's weekly vaccine shipment from the federal government and said he had requested permission to send the National Guard to Kentucky and Tennessee to pick up and bring back the state's doses.

“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,” the governor said on Thursday.

It is unclear whether that request was denied, but administration officials said late Thursday afternoon that the National Guard had not been activated.

Later Thursday, the state said the problem was actually staffing shortages at vaccine manufacturing facilities and that the partial shipment would be delayed until Monday.

With the expectation that the doses would be delayed until Monday, the Command Center had begun working with providers to determine how the delay would affect appointments that were already booked.

“In the meantime, while you’re waiting, you’re probably about 85-percent protected, even with just the one dose,” Boston University epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Linas said.

Linas is referencing a pair of studies -- one done in Israel and the other in the U.K. -- that found that just a single shot is enough to offer serious protection.

“After 14 days, it looks like these vaccines are between 75 and 85 percent effective at preventing COVID before a person even gets the second dose,” Linas said.

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.

But Linas cautions, that doesn't mean you should forget about getting your second dose because it works a bit differently than the first one.

Massachusetts had been getting a weekly allotment of about 110,000 doses from the federal government, but that is set to rise to about 139,000 next week. It is unclear whether the 135,025 doses that arrived Friday is the state's entire weekly allotment.

State House News Service/NBC10 Boston
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