Vaccination Rates Have Slowed Dramatically in Mass.

Fewer people are lining up to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Massachusetts, with the number of fully vaccinated residents still shy of the 4.1 million Gov. Charlie Baker had sought to reach by the start of June

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COVID-19 vaccines seem to be more available than ever in Massachusetts, but fewer people are lining up to get the shot.

The Bay State already missed Gov. Charlie Baker's goal of 4.1 million residents fully vaccinated by early June, and the pace has slowed dramatically.

"Maybe just a lot of people don't want it," said Michelle Dansereau of West Boylston.

"I think maybe it's just because people are scared, like the risk is too high," said Zephyr Ntimanduenga of Worcester.

Compared to March and April, when the vaccination rate here was rising steadily, vaccine rates have steadily declined in May and June.

"We've reached sort of an interesting point where people who are very eager to get vaccinated initially have been able to get vaccinated and have had access," said Dr. Sabrina Assoumou, an infectious disease physician at Boston Medical Center.

Assoumou says while goals are a good benchmark, they shouldn't be our main focus.

"What I want people to focus is not on herd immunity or population level immunity, it's think about your local level in your community," she said.

And Assoumou says compared to states in the South, with vaccination levels hovering in the 30% range, Massachusetts is in good shape.

"In Massachusetts, I think we're doing great, and I'm not really that worried about the slowdown as long as we keep vaccinating as many people as possible," said Assoumou.

She says there are three ways public health officials are trying to reach people who are hesitant or don't have great access – and she believes they will work, even if they work more slowly than mass vaccination sites were initially.

"Number one, use trusted messengers, answer questions; number two, bring the vaccines to the community; and number three, make it really easy and flexible for people to get vaccinated," Assoumou said.

Making it easy and flexible is why there are vaccine clinics being held at places like Polar Park in Worcester during high school graduations this week when there will be large crowds.

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