As Vaccines Roll Out, Baker Cautions Against Lowering Guard

Acknowledging that COVID-19 infections are again on the rise in Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday warned against letting a "false sense of security" settle in as vaccine distribution ramps up and federal officials caution states not to relax pandemic restrictions.

Baker toured the newly expanded vaccination site at the Hynes Convention Center in downtown Boston with Centers for Disease Control Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who said this week she was "scared" by the infection trends she was seeing in states like Massachusetts.

Recently chosen by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a pilot vaccination site, the capacity to administer shots at the Hynes will increase beginning Wednesday from 1,000 to 7,000 shots a day with an additional 42,000 doses per week coming to the site from the federal government.

FEMA Director Robert Fenton said the plan is to support Hynes over the next eights with six weeks of Pfizer doses followed by two weeks of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

"We'll take every dose we can get," Baker said.

With Walensky looking on, Baker said no one in Massachusetts can afford to let their guard down now. He noted that the state continues to have a public mask mandate, and gathering limits at private residences have remained unchanged in recent weeks at 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors.

"Massachusetts has some of the strictest COVID-19 protocols in place and they're there for a reason. We need everyone to follow them and embrace them," Baker said.

U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, who joined the tour along with Sen. Ed Markey and other officials, also urged hospitals, schools and other organizations receiving aid through the American Rescue Plan for the purchase of personal protective equipment to buy from vendors in the United States, not China.