Governor Charlie Baker on Monday announced that first responders will be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine starting on January 11.
The vaccine has already been administered to many COVID-facing healthcare workers and long term care facilities as part of Phase One, and first responders, including EMS workers, firefighters, and police officers are next in the order of priority laid out by the state.
Baker said that 74 out of 76 hospitals in the Commonwealth have “begun vaccinating their COVID-facing staff,” and last week, vaccination began in long term care facilities across the state.
The plan for first responders was laid out on Monday, with Baker saying that the state’s more than 45,000 first responders will have three choices for how they can receive their first dose of the vaccine.
Beginning on January 11, “qualifying departments can request vaccines to be administered onsite,” Baker said. Additionally, first responders can also schedule an appointment at one of the state’s more than 60 vaccination sites, and the state will also set up vaccination sites for first responders.
Baker said appointments will be available for scheduling later this week.
“These men and women put their lives on the line regularly before we had COVID-19,” Baker said. He continued, “the Lt. Governor and I are excited to be moving ahead in this particular vaccination effort.”
Baker also announced a “more interactive and user-friendly” dashboard for COVID-19 data that will offer people the opportunity to search data based on different criteria such as case numbers or hospitalizations, he said. Data can also be searched from a particular time period, and will “make it easier for members of the public to study COVID-19 data in Massachusetts,” Baker said.
The dashboard will be available in the same place as the previous one, and can be found at mass.gov/covid. Baker said new data will be published each day at 5pm.
As of Tuesday, there were 4,178 new cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, 2,428 patients in the hospital, and 425 patients in the ICU. He said on Monday that there have been a “few lags in reporting,” and there have also been fewer tests reported.
Baker said that while “hope is clearly on the horizon” with the vaccine already distributed to many healthcare workers and longterm care facility residents, “tough days” are still ahead. Baker said it is still “critically important” for people to continue wearing face coverings, not gathering with people, staying home when sick, and following all other guidelines set forth by the state.
“We can and will get through this,” Baker said.