Massachusetts health experts say there is a race between COVID-19 vaccinations and variants in the state as Gov. Charlie Baker stands firm on his vaccination timeline despite a general uptick in key coronavirus metrics in the state.
More than 1.4 million people in Massachusetts are fully vaccinated, according to state health officials. Beginning on Monday, anyone 55 and older and those with one medical condition will become eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine.
"This is going to open it up to a lot of people who really have some risk of having more serious disease," said Dr. Richard Ellison, an infectious disease physician at UMass Medical Center.
Governor Baker is sticking to his vaccination timeline despite other states moving up when the general public can get vaccinated.
All adults in the Bay State will become eligible for the shot on April 19.
This comes as Massachusetts communities at the highest risk of coronavirus transmission has nearly doubled after rising the last two weeks. The town-by-town coronavirus data released Thursday showed 55 communities in the high-risk red zone, up from 32 last week.
Ellison said UMass Medical Center is now seeing more younger patients with COVID.
"Most of the people with new cases are under the age of 40," he said. "So that's where most of the cases are and if those people are protected, they'll also begin to protect the older population."
With the Easter weekend upon us, Ellison says now is not the time to let our guard down. He advises people to take appropriate precautions as much as possible to prevent the spread of coronavirus.