She expected better from the governor
Like many others, I tried in vain to get an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine through the state website for someone who is over 75 year old. It was during this search that I discovered how low on the scale of receiving vaccines the state was as compared with the rest of the country, long before the chart was printed on the front page of last Tuesday’s Globe (“For Baker the fixer, a challenge like no other,” Feb. 9).
Around the same time, in the editorial “Governor should make adjustments to the state’s vaccination plan” (Jan. 28), the Globe recommended that Governor Baker make changes in three major areas: Centralize the registration website, create clear goals, and improve community outreach. Great, but were these not part of the original planning by Baker and his team? I would have assumed that these elements would have been on the initial brainstorming white board.
Worst of all is the disappointment I feel that Baker, having led a premier health care organization, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, in a state known for its worldwide reputation in health and life sciences, would allow this to happen. My belief that Massachusetts would rank among the top three states in the country did not seem too optimistic, but this situation does not come close to reflecting the high level of accomplishment we in this state expect.
Teachers continue to be overlooked
We have a president who says it is a priority to get students back in school, and a governor and many local elected officials who claim that education is a priority. We live in a state with some of the best health care in the world. As of Feb. 11, at least 28 states have made some or all teachers eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine. Despite all of this, Governor Baker keeps moving teachers farther and farther down the list.
Most, if not all, of our K-12 teachers will be lucky if they get vaccinated before the current academic year comes to a close. At the same time, last week the governor made it easier for others to jump the line by accompanying a person 75 years or older to a vaccine appointment.
While I appreciate the need to protect seniors, every time Governor Baker makes a change in the vaccine phases, he sets our teachers back in this effort. What’s wrong with this picture? Let’s make our public health plans reflect the values of our country and our state.
State deserves credit for targeting front lines of special education, congregate care
While Governor Baker has taken criticism for the vaccine rollout in Massachusetts, he is to be applauded for expanding vaccine access to front-line special education teachers and congregate caregivers. Thousands of these employees who work at 24/7 group homes have received the vaccine, making them, their students, and their families safer. More than 900 employees and older students alone at the New England Center for Children have received the vaccine, for which we are grateful to the governor.
Beyond special education, all teachers are critical to the future of our children and deserve to be prioritized for the COVID-19 vaccine. Without safe in-person education, students are disenfranchised from education, their academic future and social development are short-changed, and their mental health is endangered. Not to mention the undue pressure upon parents.
Special education schools have been hit hard by COVID-19. Many of their facilities cannot close because their students require constant care. While Massachusetts has provided significant funding to help us during the pandemic, additional support to offset the high costs of COVID-19 is needed.
Baker and Marylou Sudders, state secretary of Health and Human Services, should be applauded for distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to our most vulnerable and often-ignored populations.
Vincent Strully Jr.
President and CEO
The New England Center for Children
A vaccine boost for seniors’ companions — what could go wrong?
I can only hope that the Baker administration was watching as US Representative Jamie Raskin, lead House impeachment manager, wrapped up his prosecutorial summation of the impeachment trial and invoked the importance of using our “common sense.” It seems as if every policy invoked by the governor with respect to the vaccination rollout lacks this crucial ingredient.
Who could not foresee the abuse that the latest misstep — the announcement that people who accompany older residents to mass vaccination sites could also be immunized — would create. Perhaps Governor Baker should have his next policy reviewed by someone who has common sense before he announces it.
Cancer survivor watches all this with dismay
As a three-time cancer survivor with multiple comorbidities, including a compromised immune system as a result of ongoing cancer treatment, I have watched with dismay as the Commonwealth has fiddled with the prioritization for giving COVID-19 vaccines. Originally, people in my category were grouped with the 75 and older category in Phase 2, Group 1. We were moved to Group 2 several weeks ago, despite most of us having to practice extreme levels of physical isolation similar to that of our most elderly population.
Last Wednesday, I read that the Commonwealth had changed the rules again, allowing anyone accompanying someone 75 or older to schedule an appointment for a vaccine. Given my high risk of serious complications and death from COVID-19, I found that very disheartening, especially since the governor still had not announced when he would expand access for my category.
I do understand that the more people who are vaccinated, the safer high-risk people are from catching the virus, but I have to wonder whether anyone is advocating for cancer patients in the Commonwealth these days?