Massachusetts educators will soon be eligible for vaccines

But Baker warns doses are in short supply


Mila Barry

Gov. Charlie Baker speaks at West Parish Elementary School about vaccine supply and the plan to vaccinate educators.

MILA BARRY, Staff Writer

Yesterday, Governor Charlie Baker spoke at West Parish Elementary School about the state’s plan to make vaccinations available to educators. This update followed the White House’s announcement that school faculty and early child care workers should be prioritized in immunization efforts.  

Educators will be able to sign up through the state ‘s website starting March 11th, and dates for “educator-only” dates at specific locations are forthcoming. State officials are working to streamline the process as Biden’s order specified that all educators should be vaccinated by the end of March. 

Unfortunately, this heartwarming news is overshadowed by the reality of Massachusetts’ shortage of doses. Despite the Biden administration’s insistence that educators get immunized, no additional vaccines have been sent to accommodate them, and no shipments have been set aside for them specifically. 

The state has the infrastructure to administer shots at a higher-than-present, but the federal government is not providing enough doses to do so; only about 150,000 first doses per week, with no significant increases expected in the near future.

“We’re doing what we can to speed it up,” he explained, “but we can only go as fast as the federal government’s supply.”

— Gov. Charlie Baker

There was hope that the approval of the Johnson and Johnson formula would help alleviate this strain, but with less than half the anticipated doses being made available, this has not occurred.  

“The latest information on the J & J vaccine is that states won’t be receiving large quantities until the end of March or beginning of April,” said Baker, “That’s obviously not what we wanted to hear in the short term.”

Massachusetts educators represent 400,000 individuals. They will be added to the group of about 1 million who are already eligible – those who are 65+ and or have 2 co-morbidities. And so far, the state has only received enough vaccines to immunize about ⅓ of that population. 

“It will probably take a while for all the folks who are part of the eligibility group to work their way through the system,” said Baker, “Our estimates would be that first dose appointments would probably start to cover everybody in the group about a month after they are eligible.”

“If I have to work around the clock with the superintendent and with the principals to get our teachers [vaccinated] I’m going to do that,” said Mayor Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken. 

Massachusetts has received about 2 million vaccines in total, and administered about 1.8 million so far.