Massachusetts is well into planning how to distribute coronavirus vaccines when they begin arriving in the state, Gov. Charlie Baker said this week.
The state’s public health system already has an existing infrastructure that allows it to process and distribute million of vaccines — including annual flu shots — the governor said during a press conference Monday.
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The vaccine will likely be targeted first at high-risk groups, which could include health care workers, long-term care workers, people with preexisting conditions and people in hard-hit communities, Baker said. The details are still being worked out.
“There’s a lot of discussion about where the original focus of vaccine distribution should be,” he said. “I would say still hasn’t been fully decided yet.”
Baker said the state has been communicating directly with federal officials about what it needs to do to make sure the distribution goes as smoothly as possible. He declined to say exactly how many vaccines the state will be receiving and when.
“I don’t want to put a number out there yet, because those are still being discussed, but I think the idea is to have a fairly significant amount of vaccines start to be available early in 2021, with that amount growing sort of over the course of the first five or six months of the calendar year,” the governor said.
There were more than 920 people reported hospitalized Monday because of confirmed cases of COVID-19, and more than 200 in intensive care units.
The number of newly confirmed coronavirus deaths increased by 18 on Monday and more than 1,780 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19.
The new deaths pushed the state’s confirmed COVID-19 death toll to 10,299 and its confirmed caseload since the start of the pandemic to more than 201,800.
The number of probable or confirmed COVID-19 deaths reported in long-term care facilities rose to 6,685.