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COVID Vaccine Shipment To Massachusetts Delayed; Impact On Scheduled Appointments Unclear

BOSTON (CBS) -- The federal government has told Massachusetts officials that the state's committed vaccine shipment for the week has been delayed and won't arrive until Monday, the state's COVID Command Center said Thursday. Whether the delay will affect already scheduled vaccine appointments is not yet known.

Gov. Charlie Baker said earlier Thursday he has considered deploying the National Guard to deliver vaccines to Massachusetts that may be delayed because of severe winter weather across the country. A vaccine clinic for veterans in Plymouth has already had to be pushed back a week because of weather issues at shipping sites.

But the feds have indicated that the reason for this delay is a staffing shortage at vaccine manufacturing facilities.

"Governor Baker reached out directly to federal officials upon learning of the delay to offer any assistance the Commonwealth could provide to avoid this disruption," a Command Center spokesperson said. "The Administration is imploring the federal government to do everything in its power to rectify the delay immediately."

Now the state is looking at whether people who have already booked their vaccine appointments might be affected.

"The Command Center is working with providers now to assess how this shipment delay may impact appointments that have already been scheduled," the Command Center spokesperson said. "All residents should go to their scheduled appointments unless they are contacted by the provider they booked with."

There are still thousands of vaccine doses in Massachusetts, and the Baker administration said it is "doing everything possible to shift inventory between sites to help providers fulfill existing appointments until the shipment arrives."

Visit Mass.Gov/CovidVaccine to find out when you're eligible to book an appointment or call the hotline at 211.

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