Governor Charlie Baker received the COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday afternoon at the mass vaccination site at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston and said the state’s outpacing national averages for vaccinating vulnerable residents including seniors and communities of color.
The Republican governor shortly after 2:30 p.m. removed his blazer, rolled up the right sleeve on his golf shirt and got his first jab in his right shoulder. His second shot is slated for the end of the month.
“I pre-registered, was notified last week that I was now eligible to make an appointment, and I did,” Baker told reporters during a later briefing. “And so far, I feel great.” He described the vaccine as “a critical tool to help end the pandemic.”
Baker, 64, has steadfastly said he would not jump to the front of the vaccination line, but would instead wait until he met the CDC guidelines on who qualifies for the potentially life-saving shot.
People 55 years old and older are currently eligible for vaccinations, according to the state.
He also said that 82 percent of Massachusetts residents 75 and older have received their first dose, compared to the national average of 76 percent. And, he said, 24 percent of Black residents and 16 percent of Latino residents have received their first dose, which he indicated is about double the national averages for those groups.
The governor also provided dosage data.
“This week, the federal government has directly allocated 385,000 doses in Massachusetts to community health centers, the federal retail pharmacy program, and community vaccination centers,” Baker said. “That’s in addition to the almost 445,000 doses that have been allocated to the Commonwealth from the federal government.”
The state allocation, Baker said, includes “198,000 first and second doses of Pfizer, 138,000 first and second doses of Moderna, and about 109,000 doses of the one-dose J&J [vaccine]. While we expect to see increased shipments of J&J in the weeks ahead, right now this week’s significant shipment should be thought of as sort of a one-time allocation.”
He also lauded a significant benchmark the state reached Tuesday.
“Over 4 million doses of vaccine have been administered here in the Commonwealth, and today we’ll hit the milestone of having over 1.5 million people who are fully vaccinated,” Baker said. “We’re making significant progress on vaccinating our residents, and we continue to lead the nation in administering doses among all 24 states with more than 5 million people.”
Baker said the vaccine rollout has cut down on the number of elderly residents facing severe health outcomes from contracting the virus.
“Just look at what’s happened, the case counts [and] the hospitalizations among those over the age of 75,” Baker said. “Just go back to January. ... If you just look at the data from January forward, the number of people over the age of 75 in Massachusetts who are testing positive has dropped like a rock, and the number of people who have ended up in the hospital has also dropped like a rock. And that same period of time has been the period of time when, for the most part, we focused on those people who we were most concerned about: the most vulnerable and the most senior among us.”
Now more younger people are getting sick, he said.
“If you talk to the folks in the hospital community, they’re thrilled that they aren’t seeing as many older folks as they used to see,” Baker said. “But they will definitely tell you that they are seeing younger people, folks in their 30s, 40s, and 50s, in the hospital. And this is not the time for people to let down their guard. People should still pay attention to the rules.”
The Hynes was opened as a mass vaccination site after the Red Sox returned to Fenway Park, where CIC Health was previously operating a mass vaccination site, for the 2021 Major League Baseball season.
Acting Mayor Kim Janey was vaccinated last month as a result of her volunteering at a vaccination center in Boston.