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Baystate Health Goes Quickly Through First Vaccine Round, With Some Declining

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered at Baystate Medical Center.
Baystate Health
MassLive / MassLive.com
A COVID-19 vaccine is adminsitered at Baystate Medical Center.

Baystate Health in Springfield, Massachusetts, announced it has used up all of its initial COVID-19 vaccine doses — with a number of people turning down their turn.

Baystate CEO Mark Keroack said, by Monday, the hospital had gone through about 2,300 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. The hospital was waiting for more from Pfizer as well as a second vaccine, made by the company Moderna.

Keroack said 8,000 Baystate workers are eligible for the vaccine in the first round, though a few hundred employees have declined to get it.

"Many people were just a little hesitant and wanted other other people to go first and see how their friends did," Keroack said. "Some others had a medical condition that made them want to talk to their physician."<

Keroack said some employees had religious objections and were unlikely to get the vaccine for any reason. A few others gave up their dose altruistically, in deference to those at higher risk of COVID.

Asked whether the vaccine refusal could predict a broader pattern of anti-vaccine attitudes in the community, Keroack said he didn't think so.

"I would say the great majority of the declinations were soft," he said. "That is to say, we really don't want to get it right now, but we want to reserve the right to get it later."

Keroack said, so far, side effects have been mostly limited to a sore arm in fewer than a third of the vaccine recipients, though a handful of people had flu-like symptoms or an allergic reaction.

Mercy Medical Center's Chief Medical Officer Robert Roose said his hospital had received just under 1,000 vaccine doses so far.

Karen Brown is a radio and print journalist who focuses on health care, mental health, children’s issues, and other topics about the human condition. She has been a full-time radio reporter for NEPM since 1998.
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