Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday discussed Massachusetts' latest push to get young people vaccinated: school vaccine clinics.
Baker joined Secretary of Education James Peyser and Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria for a tour of the Everett Public Schools' back to school vaccine clinic at Everett High School.
Afterwards, he described his biggest fear for the coming start of the school year: "Will everybody do all the things that we can to, collectively and together, to keep the students and the kids and the adults safe?"
So far, about two thousand schools across over 100 districts have signed up for Massachusetts' vaccine program, Baker said, but he wants all of them to take part, since getting people vaccinated is the best way to prevent the spread of COVID.
He called the vaccines a good example of the partnership between the state and municipalities, with help from the federal government, and said they'll run through at least September.
"These clinics are going to make vaccines available to staff and eligible students, which is those 12 and older, but we're also going to run them for as long as there's demand," Baker said.
He noted that a benefit of the school clinic in Everett has been that parents are getting vaccinated as well as students and staff.
"I feel like it's important to not get sick and spread it around," said Jose Monterroza, 13, at the clinic Monday.
Adrian Figueroa, 15, said he was motivated to get vaccinated by news of the spread of COVID's delta variant and other kids getting sick.
"It feels good to get it. I feel at least partially safe right now, and then eventually I will be more safe," he said.
Massachusetts' COVID metrics, tracked on the Department of Public Health's interactive coronavirus dashboard, are far lower than they were several months ago, though they have been rising in recent weeks. While breakthrough cases are being reported, officials say most new cases, and especially serious infections, are in the unvaccinated.
The number of new cases of COVID-19 increased by nearly 1,600 Friday while the number of newly confirmed coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts rose by six.
The new numbers pushed the state’s confirmed COVID-19 death toll to 17,847 since the start of the pandemic, while its confirmed caseload since the pandemic’s start rose to nearly 704,000.
There were about 570 people reported hospitalized Friday because of confirmed cases of COVID-19, with about 150 in intensive care units.
The average age of those who have died from COVID-19 was 75.
The true number of cases is likely higher because studies suggest some people can be infected and not feel sick.
More than 4.4 million people in Massachusetts have been fully immunized against COVID-19.