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'I Do Not Apologize': Baker Stands By COVID Vaccine Rollout Decisions, Acknowledges 'Unhappiness'

BOSTON (CBS) -- Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday acknowledged frustrations with the coronavirus vaccine rollout in Massachusetts, but said he would not apologize for decisions made to prioritize health care workers and other groups in the eligibility process.

"I get how unhappy many people are with the rollout," Baker said in response to a reporter's question at a news conference held at the Fenway Park mass vaccination site. "There are some reasons for that unhappiness that have to do with the decisions we made out of the gate - which I do not apologize for."

Baker said Massachusetts hasn't been as quick to administer doses as other states because of the decision to "structure a very significant and complicated outreach program" with a focus on vaccinating vulnerable populations like those in congregate care settings and the homeless.

Read: Inmates Can Earn Slightly Shorter Prison Sentences By Getting COVID Vaccine

"I think we did the right thing there," Baker said. "But I get the fact that that meant other people needed to wait."

Massachusetts began Phase 2 of the vaccination rollout process on Monday, opening up appointments to those 75 years and older. But many have had difficulty making appointments on the state's website. A call center is being set up for those who have trouble booking a spot online.

WBZ-TV viewers have called the process a "debacle" and Congressman Seth Moulton said last month that the rollout is "clearly" moving too slow.

"I'm not satisfied with where we are," Baker said. "We have work to do and we know that. One of the best things a good manager does is recognizes and understands that they have a problem, and then bust their butt to figure out how to fix it."

Massachusetts has administered just under half a million doses of the vaccine, per the state's latest weekly report that was released last Thursday. Baker also announced that the state will have more than 120,000 COVID vaccine appointments available over the next week for the most vulnerable residents.

Visit Mass.Gov/CovidVaccine to find out when you're eligible and to book an appointment.

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