With more than 1.1 million people fully vaccinated in Massachusetts, the state is asking for help from the federal government to help speed the process for more residents.
Gov. Charlie Baker told state lawmakers Tuesday that Massachusetts has requested a FEMA-sponsored mass vaccination site. The federal government has been setting up vaccination sites to reach some of the hardest hit communities.
"We’re working closely with the federal administration and, with the support and advocacy of our Congressional delegation, have applied for a FEMA-sponsored mass vaccination site here in Massachusetts," Baker said.
State lawmakers argued that the governor should rely more on local health departments to distribute the vaccine in a second hearing before the Legislature's Joint Committee on COVID-19 and Emergency Preparedness and Management on Tuesday.
Baker once again defended the use of mass vaccination sites, pointing to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine.
"The authors find these high throughput sites are not only necessary but are the logical solution to the challenges of COVID vaccination and extremely effective in the race against time," Baker said.
The hearing was the second in a series of planned oversight hearings by the committee. Tuesday's meeting focused on technology issues that complicated vaccine distribution efforts early on.
At the first hearing in February, Baker apologized for problems with the Massachusetts' COVID-19 vaccination portal but reiterated his argument that a limited supply of doses from federal authorities was to blame for a troubled vaccine rollout.
The state has since switched its vaccine sign-up system, now offering a pre-registration option.
Massachusetts is now the nation's leader for vaccinations administered per capita among the 25 states with more than 5 million people, and it has the second-highest rate of Black residents with at least one dose.
In a one-on-one interview with NBC 10 Boston on Monday, Baker said other states have faced similar struggles with their rollout plans.