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Baker: Massachusetts Vaccine Rollout 'Lumpy And Bumpy' But 'It's Moving Forward'

BOSTON (CBS) – Gov. Charlie Baker said that despite some concerns about the federal rollout of the coronavirus vaccine, Massachusetts remains on track with the state's distribution plan.

The governor said the Commonwealth should receive 300,000 doses by the end of the year as expected.

"The progress obviously shows that while it is lumpy and bumpy, which we said it would be, it is moving forward. And it speaks well with respect to what's ahead in 2021," Baker said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon at the State House.

Massachusetts has received 86,000 first doses of Pfizer's vaccine and 146,000 of Moderna's. About 75,000 first doses have been administered around the state as of Tuesday.

"This is the largest rollout of a vaccination program in U.S. history," Baker said, acknowledging the commonwealth has more work to do with a massive vaccination campaign.

Baker said there will be 50 clinics and vaccination sites set up this week, vaccinating 20,000 more people in Massachusetts.

"With the surge that we are having and the continued stress on the calls that these first responders will be getting, their exposure is just going to increase exponentially," said State Rep. Harold Naughton. He, along with more than 80 other lawmakers, said they are not satisfied with the timeline that has first responders receiving the first dose of the vaccine in mid-January, especially with more than 800 firefighters in the state testing positive for COVID-19 .

Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders said more information will be available next week about plans to administer vaccines to first responders, who are the next group to receive the shot in Phase 1 of the state's plan.

Firefighters Union President Rich MacKinnon said the conversation about distribution should have happened months ago. "This plan should have been in place when they knew a vaccine was in the making," he said.

The city of Worcester said Wednesday afternoon that it is setting up a super site to vaccinate all first responders in Worcester County.

Massachusetts reported 6,135 new COVID cases and 118 additional deaths on Wednesday. Health officials said the total number of confirmed cases in the state is now 352,558 while the total number of deaths is 12,076.

Sudders said COVID hospitalizations have grown by 129% and ICU patients by 106% in the last month in Massachusetts.

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