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After reports circulated that extra vaccine doses were given to people without appointments at a mass vaccination site, Gov. Charlie Baker is reiterating his position that no one without an appointment should be given a vaccine.
Long lines formed and confusion spread earlier this week at the mass vaccination site operated by Curative at the DoubleTree Hotel in Danvers.
In an effort not to waste any doses, site workers told patients who had appointments later in the week to come to the location Wednesday to receive their vaccinations early, Miranda Gottlieb, a spokeswoman for Curative, wrote in an email to The Boston Globe.
But some people reported getting vaccinated even though they did not have appointments and were not yet eligible under state guidelines. Massachusetts is currently vaccinating health care workers, first responders, residents of congregate care facilities and residents age 75 and older.
Vaccination providers should be managing their supply so that they don’t have significant numbers of unused doses, Gov. Charlie Baker said Thursday.
His comments came after repeated questions from reporters at a briefing, asking whether there should be a unified system for handling excess doses.
“If you don’t have an appointment, you won’t get a vaccine,” the Republican governor said. “We don’t believe there should be a cattle call at the end of the day.”
Baker's statements appeared to contradict earlier guidance issued this week by Massachusetts health officials, who directed clinics with leftover doses to give them out rather than let them go to waste — even if the recipient is outside the state's current eligibility rules. There is currently no official waiting list or other system in place for distributing extra doses. However, some clinics do have wait lists, according to The Boston Globe.
Baker told reporters it is important that only those eligible for a vaccine receive one, and those who have appointments should keep them. Nobody wants to waste doses, Baker added, but providers must manage doses for the appointments they schedule. He also noted that the state's unused vaccine rate has been small, at about 0.13%.
Jon Shumam, 46, told WBZ-TV that he rushed to the Danvers site, which is near his home, when he got a call from a friend and within an hour, got vaccinated.
Baker said he had spoken with Curative about the incident, and said he expects all providers to follow state guidelines.
With additional reporting from WBUR's Laney Ruckstuhl
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