Cape Cod’s Barnstable County has the oldest inhabitants in Massachusetts; nonetheless, because the state prioritizes at-risk seniors in its COVID-19 vaccine rollout, state Sen. Julian Cyr says the Cape is being “left behind.
Cyr, who represents many of the Cape and Islands, mentioned throughout a convention name Thursday that the disproportionately aged and geographically remoted area is being underserved by vaccination websites and doses, at the same time as Gov. Charlie Baker ramps up efforts to get these within the extremely susceptible 75-year-old-and-up age group vaccinated.
“I’m pissed off, I’m dissatisfied, and fairly frankly fairly enraged,” the Truro Democrat mentioned throughout the Cape Cod COVID-19 Response Job Power name.
Cyr pointed at a scarcity of a mass vaccination web site on Cape Cod, in addition to what he mentioned was inadequate distribution of vaccine doses to Barnstable County by the Baker administration. Whereas the Republican governor introduced this week that over 100,000 new appointments at mass vaccination websites and pharmacies throughout the state could be made out there, Cyr mentioned that simply 1,300 of them have been on the Cape.
“These stuffed up inside 29 minutes,” he mentioned.
“I proceed to listen to studies that there are 1000’s and 1000’s of accessible appointments in any given week at Gillette,” Cyr mentioned, referring to one of many state’s 5 mass vaccination websites. “To me, that signifies that the place the vaccines are being made out there is definitely not accessible to the individuals who want them.”
In response to Cyr, Barnstable County has roughly double the speed of residents over the age of 75 — 12.7 % of the inhabitants, in comparison with 6.7 % statewide. In response to census figures, 31.four % of the inhabitants is over the age of 65, a bunch that’s subsequent in line beneath the state’s vaccine rollout. Statewide, 17 % of the inhabitants is over 65 years outdated.
Nonetheless, in uncooked numbers, Barnstable County has tens of 1000’s of fewer individuals over the age of 65 in comparison with considerably extra populous counties like Middlesex, Suffollk, and Worcester. The county is at the moment in the course of the pack by way of infections per-capita, compared to other counties in Massachusetts.
The decision Thursday got here after Baker announced plans Wednesday to ascertain two extra extra mass vaccination websites in Natick and Dartmouth, in addition to a coverage permitting youthful people accompanying individuals over the age of 75 to an appointment at a mass vaccination web site to additionally get the vaccine.
Whereas the Cape has at least 10 small vaccination sites at pharmacies and different places, the Baker administration has promoted the effectivity and scale of mass vaccination facilities, every of which is able to ramp as much as administering 1000’s of doses a day. Cyr mentioned there had been personal discussions between the Baker administration and native stakeholders about additional increasing vaccine entry on the Cape, together with a possible mass vaccination web site at Cape Cod Group School.
“That hasn’t occurred,” he mentioned.
Baker initially mentioned the state deliberate to ascertain a complete of seven mass vaccination websites, however extra not too long ago urged the state may open extra because the rollout progresses.
If the area doesn’t get a mass vaccination web site, Cyr urged the Baker administration to distribute doses to native well being boards, which have been already required to have the infrastructure to arrange vaccine websites. Thus far, he mentioned solely two of the county’s 15 boards of well being had acquired any doses.
“Logistically, we’re able to vaccinate individuals,” Wendy Northcross, the CEO of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, mentioned throughout the name. “We simply want extra vaccine. We get it, that there’s a constraint of provide. However we’re prepared.”
Cyr mentioned he was assured that the native well being boards may “fill the hole” within the absence of the mass vaccination web site, however that there was at the moment palpable “exasperation” amongst native officers and residents.
“We’re truly the third oldest county within the nation,” he mentioned. “So proper now, on this section of the vaccination, that is when we now have the peak of our want.”
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