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Regional News

Massachusetts Focusing Vaccine Supply On High-Volume Locations

Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, Massachusetts.
File Photo
Daily Hamphire Gazette
Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, Massachusetts.

At least one western Massachusetts hospital is no longer scheduling appointments for the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine — for now. That's after the state said it's focusing its limited supply on other sites like the Eastfield Mall in Springfield.

State Representative Lindsay Sabadosa said she was contacted earlier this week by an elderly constituent. He wanted to get vaccinated at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, but was told he couldn't get an appointment.

Sabadosa said officials at the hospital told her they had to stop scheduling shots because the state wasn't providing more doses.

"We are hearing that those doses are being redirected to other sites including the mass vaccination site at [the] Eastfield [Mall], which, of course, is problematic for people who live in Hampshire and Franklin counties," Sabadosa said.

In a statement, the Massachusetts COVID-19 Response Command Center said hospitals will receive doses for appointments already schedule. But the state is distributing more vaccine to places like mass vaccination sites, retail pharmacies and community health centers:

The Commonwealth continues to distribute more vaccines more quickly through more locations in order to vaccinate residents as quickly and efficiently as possible, but the supply delivered to Massachusetts by the federal government has remained the same for several weeks. The Commonwealth will distribute more vaccines to high throughput locations, like mass vaccination sites, retail pharmacy sites, and community health centers until more vaccines are made available by the federal government. All patients and hospital staff with existing appointments will get their first and second shots, and the administration is hopeful more vaccines will arrive soon for more providers, including hospital systems. The Command Center and Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association are working together to plan for a more predictable supply for the next few weeks.

A spokesman for Baystate Health said it has not received official notification from the state of any changes to vaccine distribution, but he declined to answer whether Baystate was scheduling new appointments for first doses of the vaccine.

A spokeswoman for Mercy Medical Center said she could not provide an answer to the same question.

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