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After Uncertainty, Mass. Says 135,000 Vaccine Doses Have Arrived And Appointments Can Be Kept

Signs in multiple languages let the public know they can get inoculated here at La Colaborativa in Chelsea, Massachusetts on Feb. 16, 2021. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images)
Signs in multiple languages let the public know they can get inoculated here at La Colaborativa in Chelsea, Massachusetts on Feb. 16, 2021. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images)

At least some of the COVID-19 vaccine doses that the state said Thursday would not be here until Monday — a little more than 135,000 doses — arrived in Massachusetts Friday, the state's COVID-19 Command Center said Friday afternoon.

That's enough doses, the state said, to ensure providers will not have to cancel already scheduled vaccination appointments.

In a statement, Command Center spokesperson Kate Reilly said:

"Governor Baker and the Command Center have been in constant communication with federal officials to rush vaccine shipments to Massachusetts. Today, 135,025 arrived to the Commonwealth and as a result, providers will not have to cancel appointments. The Administration appreciates the efforts made to get this critical shipment here and is not anticipating additional delays from the federal government for vaccine shipments at this time."

On Thursday, Gov. Charlie Baker said the wintery weather across the south was threatening to delay part of the state's weekly vaccine shipment from the federal government and said he had requested permission to send the National Guard to Kentucky and Tennessee to pick up and bring back the state's doses. It is unclear whether that request was denied, but administration officials said late Thursday afternoon that the National Guard had not been activated.

The state also said the problem was actually staffing shortages at vaccine manufacturing facilities and that the partial shipment would be delayed until Monday.

With the expectation that the doses would be delayed until then, the Command Center had begun working with providers to determine how the delay would affect appointments that were already booked.

Massachusetts had been getting a weekly allotment of about 110,000 doses from the federal government, but that is set to rise to about 139,000 next week. It is unclear whether the 135,025 doses that arrived Friday is the state's entire weekly allotment.

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