Gov. Charlie Baker’s vaccine rollout could learn a thing or two from Revere, according to U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark.
The No. 4 Democrat in the House of Representatives and Melrose resident held the hard-hit North Shore city up as an example of a place that put forethought into creating an efficient and localized vaccine-distribution plan before the shots in arms began.
“Revere’s a great example of having that foresight, and putting into place what they needed — those partnerships with community health centers. All the appointments here today are made through the senior center with phone calls and backups,” Clark told reporters after touring a vaccine clinic for elderly Revere residents at the Rumney Marsh Academy for Revere. “If the state had been able to do that, we could have gotten vaccines even quicker into arms with less frustration.”
Clark, the House assistant majority leader, authored a letter last month co-signed by most of the Massachusetts congressional delegation in which she laid into Baker, saying she was “deeply concerned” about the state’s lack of a centralized pre-registration system. The letter came as the demand for the vaccine overwhelmed the state’s decentralized sign-up mechanisms, opening yawning chasms of wait times and kicking people out mid-booking.
Asked how she’d grade the Baker administration response now, Clark said the state “has made some progress,” but still has room to improve.
Baker has taken flak for shifting vaccines away from local boards of health to mass vaccination sites two weeks ago — and then back to regional collaboratives last week in a move that frustrated some state and municipal officials.
Clark didn’t directly answer a question about whether the Baker administration had made a mistake in pulling vaccines from local boards of health, but she said, “Our local communities are such a key partners in this because they’re closest to the needs of the people. And I hope that as we go forward, you know, we can have a combination that uses the incredible resilience of a community in a city like Revere, but also has those mass distribution sites.”
Speaking in Lawrence also on Friday morning U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan placed similar emphasis on local vaccine-delivery systems.
“These are the partners that are going to do it on the ground,” Trahan said. “We’ve got to make sure we’re continuing to invest in them.”
Original story here.