Governor Charlie Baker on Thursday touted CDC data showing Massachusetts has the lowest rate of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in the nation, telling reporters that state residents are “eager” to get the shots.
Baker, a Republican, made the comments following a tour of a vaccination site in Pittsfield.
“With all of our counties showing hesitancy rates that are well below 10 percent, people in Massachusetts are eager to get vaccinated,” Baker said. “And in addition to our strong vaccine distribution infrastructure, this enthusiasm is a critical part of making Massachusetts the leading state among all big states in getting our residents vaccinated.”
He said state officials remain focused on vaccine equity as well.
The equity push, he said, includes a “$30 million vaccine equity initiative, which has been focused on breaking down barriers to getting vaccinations and promoting access and awareness, especially in our disproportionately affected communities.”
The work has paid dividends, he said.
“We out-perform nearly every other state when it comes to the percentage of our Black and Hispanic residents who’ve also received first doses,” Baker said.
He stressed that testing remains critically important too.
“There’s still a ton of testing infrastructure out there,” Baker said. “It’s free, it’s available, you should take advantage of it.” He cautioned that it’s “really important for people to understand that we are not done with COVID. We will not be completely done with COVID for quite a while.”
Nor will we be done with shots, Baker said.
“We’ll probably be talking about booster shots at some point, when we get past the point where we all get vaccinated fully for the first time,” he said, adding that there could be a silver lining to boosters.
“One of the good things about the booster, if there is a booster, when there is a booster, is it’s one” shot, Baker said. “Alright? Keep in mind that one of the great challenges of this thing logistically, and in terms of capacity generally from the beginning has been, it’s two.”
And as for tests, the Commonwealth continues to do well.
“Yesterday the Department of Public Health reported 1,370 new COVID-19 cases. That was out of 77,000 tests,” Baker said. “We’ve now conducted over 20 million tests here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which makes us the second largest per capita testing state in the country.”