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Vaccine, Massachusetts IDEO NOW: Massachusetts Gov. Baker updates COVID-19 vaccination efforts

Thank you to manny lopes for hosting uh and to mike curry, who’s. The ceo of the mass league of community health centers and andrew dreifus who’s, the president of blue cross blue shield of massachusetts for being with us today. Before i give some details on vaccinations at community health centers. I do want to give a quick update on the covet metrics yesterday, the department of public health reported nineteen hundred and twenty new cases of covid. That was on a hundred thousand two hundred and seventy one new tests over fourteen and a half million tests have been done here in the commonwealth and reported our hospitalization numbers continue to fall, we’re down to 1358 individuals who are in the hospital and being treated for Covid, which is a 44 drop since the peak on january, 4th and 309 individuals and the icus that is also a significant drop from january. Over 987 000 doses of vaccine have been administered and we’re on track to reach 1 million doses within the day. We’Ve surpassed the goal that we set for ourselves at the beginning of phase two to be able to administer 242 000 doses a week and today, over 70 000 new appointments went online across mass vaccination sites and pharmacies here in massachusetts, 53 000 of those appointments we’re At mass vaccination sites at gillette, fenway, springfield and danvers over 30 000 additional pharmacy appointments will become available over the course of the week. Yesterday we also announced the beginning today, a caregiver or companion that accompanies an individual, 75 years old or older to an appointment at a mass vaccination site will be able to get an appointment as well that’s to help support those older adults.

That might not feel comfortable with navigating the vaccination process. We have heard some pretty disturbing reports of some people trying to take advantage of this program already, with some people posting online trying to get a senior to bring them to a vaccination site or, in some cases, asking to be paid to drive somebody to one. If you’re 75 years or older, and you need assistance going through the vaccination process, you should only reach out to somebody that you know or trust, to bring you as your companion, whether that’s a child, a companion, a spouse, a neighbor or a caregiver don’t. Take calls or offers from people you don’t know well or trust, and never share your personal information with anyone if you’re contacted by somebody soliciting to take you to a site. Please report it to the authorities now with respect to the purpose of today’s visit community health. Centers have played a unique role in the commonwealth’s healthcare delivery system for a very long time. They know their patients and they know their communities well and they serve some of the most vulnerable and hard to reach. Populations in massachusetts and they’ve played a crucial role throughout the course of this pandemic, helping to care for some of the populations and communities that have been hardest hit by the virus and once again, they’re stepping up to assist their neighbors and their neighborhoods and their communities. As part of our commonwealth vaccination efforts to get uh so far, over 75 000 doses of vaccine have been distributed to over a hundred community health center sites across the commonwealth and the state’s community health community health centers received approximately twenty thousand doses this week and last Week they received more than eighteen thousand doses to vaccinate people in their communities.

So far this week, they’ve administered nearly 13 000 doses to their communities, people in their communities, and we expect that those numbers will climb as they scale up their operations. East boston, neighborhood health center is currently operating four sites, one in chelsea, one in revere, one in the south end and one that we just toured over in east boston on liverpool street, which actually used to be their wick site. But since a big piece of wick went online as a result of the pandemic, which turned out in some respects to be a net positive, i would say once people figured it out, they now have that capacity available to be used to do vaccinations and they’ve administered About 1600 doses, to date across those four locations here at the east boston site, they have the capacity to do about 1700 vaccinations a week or close to 300 a day. Community health centers have been doing tremendous work reaching out in their communities. I’M. Sure manny will talk more about that, to encourage folks to get vaccinated and to help answer any of the questions they have. They gave us a lot of good advice on our 2.5 million dollar public awareness campaign and we expect and anticipate that we’ll be working with them uh to do some additional things as we go forward. That will be more boots on the ground type stuff to get folks in to be vaccinated because it is safe and it is effective.

They’Ve also been working to increase access to sites, and the other speakers here will have more to say about that in a moment. Based on a new partnership, that’s been put together to help get people to sites. I do want to also give a quick update on our small business relief program today. We’Re announcing that another 64 million dollars in grant awards are going out to 1312 small businesses to help them with expenses like payroll and rent. Each of these massachusetts, small businesses, which had applied to either of the two programs administered by the mass growth capital corporation, meet the demographic and sector preferences that were set up by those programs. Restaurants bars caterers, personal services, independent retailers currently make up about 50 of those receiving grants and to date, since launching this, these programs in october we’ve awarded about 514 million dollars to eleven thousand two hundred and twelve businesses. As i’ve said before. This is the largest program of its kind in the country. The mgcc is continuing to do outreach to eligible business owners who may have submitted incomplete applications that are missing some of the required paperwork and attestations and certifications so that they can be considered for a grant and we’ll continue to make weekly announcements on this until the Program runs out of money before i turn it over to mike curry. I want to remind people about how important it is to get a vaccine when it’s your turn.

The covid vaccine is safe, it’s, free and it’s effective, and it will protect you, your loved ones, and your friends from getting sick, even if you’ve already had covet and i’ve had many conversations at this point with a number of people who said to me. Well, i already had covet so i don’t need to get the vaccine right wrong. Everybody should get vaccinated as the variants of this virus continue to develop and morph over time. All those antibodies that you earned, because you got coveted, may not be exactly the ones that you’ll need to continue to be covet free, it’s, critically important if you’ve had the virus that you still sign up and get vaccinated when it’s your turn to protect you, your Family members and your friends, it is a crucial way for how we get this pandemic behind us and get back to a new normal. And if you have questions about the vaccine, you should talk to your health care provider. You can visit our website at mass.gov covid vaccine, to learn more but we’re here today in part, because these folks do know their communities, their communities and the people in them know them, and they are exactly the kind of folks who are going to help us help.

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