MBTA Workers Push to Be Included on List of Essential Workers Getting Vaccines

The MBTA planned to vaccinate as many as 200 employees a day at a vacant Lowe's in Quincy, but supply has been too limited for it to open up

NBC Universal, Inc.

While some frontline workers are already eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine, thousands of transit workers are still waiting, even though a vaccination site capable of inoculating as many as 200 employees per day is available. 

The MBTA, which initially planned to open the site at a vacant Lowe’s near Quincy Adams Station in mid-February, said it cannot because the vaccine supply remains limited. In addition, Gov. Charlie Baker has yet to add transit employees to the list of people eligible to receive a shot. 

“I think what he’s done, it’s a broken promise, and he’s dropped the ball,” said Jim Evers, president of Carmen’s Local 589. “It’s a health risk to the riding public.”

Evers said the idea was that a separate site would prevent service issues because transit employees wouldn’t have to wait in line at one of the state’s mass vaccination sites. 

“If the state is to put us in a big facility, like Gillette [Stadium], they can’t manage the disruption in service that it could cause,” he said. 

Starting next week, teachers will be eligible for the coronavirus vaccine -- but how will they be able to sign up with no available appointments in sight?

More than 300 transit workers have already caught COVID-19, and one died, Evers said. 

Mass transit riders said they also think that transit employees should already be eligible for a vaccine. 

“I think [transit workers] should be on the frontline getting it,” said Bill McMannis, of Boston. “Absolutely, I do. Yeah.”

“I really think they should have them vaccinated,” said Michael Gonsalves, of Quincy. 

In a statement Thursday, the T blamed the issue on the limited vaccine supply from the federal government, noting that, “Until vaccine supply from the federal government increases significantly, no employer-based vaccination sites will be made available anywhere in the commonwealth.”  

The governor’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment. 

Contact Us