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As state cuts off vaccine shipments to hospitals for two weeks, Boston Medical Center opens vaccine sites in several Boston neighborhoods

Boston Medical Center yesterday announced it's opening clinics in several Boston neighborhoods to provide Covid-19 shots to eligible residents - those on the state's Phase 1 list and people 75 or older.

The new sites are in Hyde Park, Roslindale, Mattapan and Dorchester, as well as at the medical center itself. Mattapan's first appointments are on Feb. 16, Dorchester's on Feb. 19, while the others are already open for shots.

Eligible residents can get more details and schedule an appointment at BMC's Covid-19 Web site.

The state announced this week it was halting vaccine shipments for two week to hospitals in an effort to get more vaccine to sites that might be able to vaccinate more people closer to where they live, such as community health centers.



Will hospitals have enough supply to cover people who've already gotten their first shot and are scheduled to receive their second shot within the next two weeks?

Voting closed 18

Short answer: Yes.

And anyone with a first dose appointment next week should be fine as well. The State instructed hospitals on THURSDAY of this week to stop taking any new appointments. I assume that most were only booking appointments for the week ahead anyways, since the distribution to providers is on a weekly time frame.


Voting closed 13

The reasons that shipments got cut off and vaccines were transferred back to the state have to do with these hospitals having had enormous amounts of vaccine that they were not in any hurry to use.

The state cracked down because the provider agreements specifically state that they cannot stockpile - they cannot hang on to vaccine for more than ten days. If they weren't using it, it can't stay with them. They agreed to this. Remember: they don't pay for vaccine - it is not theirs.

There was a lot of vaccine sitting at hospitals waiting for that mythical someday when they were "going to do a clinic in Chelsea" that they clearly hadn't bothered to arrange just yet but were gonna ...

That's why supplies of Pfizer in particular are being diverted to Fenway and Gillette and other sites doing mass vaccination - those sites can take it and those sites are churning through it, not hoarding it. Moderna vaccine, which has more typical storage conditions, is being sent to community clinics run by cities and towns and family health clinics in places like Lawrence.

Hospitals are allowed to keep what they are able to use in 10 days and any doses in already opened boxes - meaning they still have plenty. They are just whining because they got busted on the stockpiling.

So you should be fine - appointment set, dose planned, dose reserved for you. Interesting that all these unicorn clinics in underserved areas are materializing now that they have to show their plans.

Voting closed 43

Swirly, if the hospitals were awash in extra, uncommitted doses, why did the Commonwealth instruct them to stop taking new appointments? If they really have them, and they aren't allowed to book appointments after the directive came out, they still sit there in storage. And by not taking future appointments, that takes the hospital sites out of service in the near future.

Even if the best decisions are being made, they are lacking in transparency and that makes it very hard to understand how we are not making decisions that take two steps forward and two steps backwards. When you cap a leaky pipe, you don't take that cap off to go plug the next leak that comes along...

I do appreciate your insight, you have filled in some of the holes in my understanding, which a more transparent government would have already provided.

Voting closed 25

Hospitals did a great job vaccinating people in Phase I because most of them took care of their own staff and then medical staff from smaller facilities and first responders.

But when was the last time you went to a hospital for a vaccination? I usually get my flu shot at work or at a city clinic. Clinics in hospitals are usually for their staff.

The hospitals were having trouble vaccinating community members (over 75) with any real speed. That may have been a recruiting issue, a limited amount of appointments issue, or just a convenience issue. Meanwhile, Gillette Stadium administered over 15,000 shots last week - 4,000 on Thursday alone.

But the supersites have equity issues, even with the expansions to more communities.So the answer to community level need is to get those doses into the communities where people live. And that is what is happening. Because most seniors are accustomed to getting their vaccinations at their senior centers, town halls, and other local locations - and community health orgs know how to help their locals with language challenges and other sensitive details.

Phase 2B - two comorbidities and 65+ - is going to be a much huger group to contend with - one that the hospitals will not have the capacity for unless they are teaming up with other organizations in the community to hold mass vaccination clinics offsite. 17% of the state's population is over age 65, and only about 6% is over 75.

Voting closed 19

I feel like some sort of a statewide registration system, for everyone, from the start that would enable those eligible to go where they could access easily, could have kept the hospitals in the system.

Voting closed 17

I do not know whose well-connected nephew built that clusterfuck, but I will say that it totally represents the state of IT at DPH in general.We also have 351 separate units of local public health that are responsible for doing everything. Works in Boston, does not work in Mount Washington. Franklin County has already regionalized.

Illinois has a registry - the but problem is getting people to use it when the former president and some local officials insist on terrorizing eligible residents with threats of green card revocation and deportation for signing up for anything.

West Virginia has had plenty of vaccine all along for their folks, but they have also done a stellar job of getting it into every last holler and ridge by going hyperlocal with it. That alone solves equity problems in urban areas, and rural/urban inequities, too. We sort of have that system with municipalities and flu shots, and once there is enough Moderna to go around I think things will improve.

Although, again, hospitals are not optimal for mass vaccination clinics. They charge for parking, you have to find the right place, etc. Gillette is wham bam thankyou mam.

Voting closed 16

I read that Alaska, with the majority of the state inaccessible has done a great job of getting vaccines out to the unconnected towns. Even though we are totally connected, can't seem to do. .

Voting closed 9

I work for a Boston hospital. We vaccinate all day and are not hoarding supplies. I don’t understand where this take is coming from

Voting closed 9

I thought hospitals were only vaccinating medical workers, but perhaps that too has changed in the past five minutes.

Voting closed 11

who have had appointments for the vaccine made there by their private doctors and specialists.

Voting closed 12

Here's a chance to do a good thing if you have the skills and the time:


Voting closed 15

You don't even need to be a medical professional - they need people to check in the clients as they arrive, direct people through the process, and assist with the 15 minutes observation after.

Voting closed 11

I think they're doing the hospitals a favor temporarily halting their supply. My wife got her first shot at a university health service she's part of as a retired employee. Then she got two emails from hospitals she's had limited connection to so they were obviously way down in their prospect lists trying to find arms.

I'm in step 2 (65+) and I'm getting a little salty about the delays. I don't begrudge anyone getting the shots and I'm glad that they're doing more neighborhood distribution. But 65 to 75 year olds are getting delayed and steamrolled by everyone else who feels they deserve them first. The CDC says 65+ should be a priority and the VA is taking vets 55+. Massachusetts should be getting it together here. They're wasting my goodwill.

Voting closed 35

I'm also in Step 2 (65 and over) and an also getting kind of pissed off at the delays. I don't think it's right that people should get steamrolled by other people wanting to jump the line. I made it clear that I wanted to be notified both by email and by landline telephone about when Step 2 (65 +) starts, and when to schedule an appointment. Frankly, I think it sucks that lots of people here in the Bay State are getting screwed because of Baker's ineptness on this whole thing.

Voting closed 23

But I fully understand the logistical challenges and the vaccine inventories, and that makes a big difference in my mood about it. 65+ or two comorbidities is easily 15-20% of the Massachusetts population: 1 to 1.4 million people, or as much as 2.5 million doses assuming some hesitancy.

The "we need to get more 75+ before we move ahead" is really a stalling tactic for "we don't have enough vaccine for the very large number of people in the next group". Because the state does not have the vaccine in stock and the pipeline is uncertain. If I didn't know that, I would be all "if they don't want it move on!", too.

Pulling vaccine from hospitals that were warehousing it and putting it in the big facilities with the facilities to handle and dispense it (per their provider agreements) and sending the Moderna doses to community clinics in areas that have a lot of elders is an interim move. That maximizes what we have, but doesn't solve the supply problem with the Federal government going into the next stage.

Bear in mind that Trump left a complete and total clusterfuck of nonsense at the Federal level. MA had allocations slashed repeatedly and there was no stockpile - unless you count the excessive amount sent to Florida. The grownups have been in charge for less than four weeks now, they have competent people shoring up all aspects of the supply chain, and it is only beginning to ease.

There are no miracles in ending an epidemic - just lots of extra hours of hard work and waiting when we all want this over NOW.

Voting closed 14

I can't say that my experience has had issues.

While at Boston Medical on routine check-ups I inquired as to when the vaccine would become available there. I fit into the current age and health group which qualified me. My question was prompted by an email I received a week before stating they were setting up for distribution.

I actually left that doctor's office and appeared at the location on campus where they had just set up the first of 3 planned clinic settings for distribution and got my first shot. On exit I set up for the second one in early March.

On getting home the phone rang stating that people in our home qualified and to call a number provided to set up an appointment. It seems since we were patients at the BMC, and qualified, people got emails and robo calls to come in.

My wife dovetailed her first injection with an upcoming doctor's appointment by calling their special phone number set up just for that purpose. She will remain on site after her doctor's appointment and walk to the clinic area on site for her first vaccination.

We did not have to deal with the state web site at all. Boston Medical Center reached out to its database of people to get things started. It was all well organized.

On the heels of that by 2 days, they announced mass vaccination sites in Roslindale and nearby communities. Their process appears to have been well-organized, at least for the people they could reach out to in their database.

Voting closed 13

“ The state announced this week it was halting vaccine shipments for two week to hospitals in an effort to get more vaccine to sites that might be able to vaccinate more people closer to where they live, such as community health centers.”

Huh? Hospitals are closer to where people live than the remote mass vaccination sites the vaccines are being diverted to.
If the state is really sending vaccines to community health centers why did I get an email from my local community health center to inform me they will not be able make any new vaccination appointments for the next two weeks because their supply has been abruptly cut off?

Baker really has some ‘splainin’ to do.

Voting closed 29

Yes, hospitals are closer to people sometimes.

Doesn't matter if they aren't holding clinics and hoard vaccine.

The hospitals are the ones with the explaining to do. As in why they thought they could hoard vaccine when it belongs to the state.

Voting closed 13

But what evidence is there that hospitals hoarded vaccines?

Hospital officials deny it.

Baker got called out on his new so called “companion” policy at mass vaccination sites run by a for profit company that was announced the same day the state announced the supply to hospitals and community health centers would be cut off and redirected to the mass vaccination sites.

Voting closed 8

No plans to use it (outside of BMC) in ten days.

MGH whined about clinics sometime in the future. Not good enough. They had no firm plans.

If you order vaccine, you only get to order what you use in ten days. Don't use it? It gets moved to someone who will. Simple.

Voting closed 12

I have magical powers to peer into the vaccine freezers.

Inventory doesn't lie.

I can't divulge the actual numbers, but there were cases after cases of Pfizer delivered in January that were not only NOT being used, the hospitals had no concrete plans to disburse them anywhere near as fast as the supersites are burning through them.(other than BMC - take a bow, please, BMC! You are doing the RIGHT thing! Yay BMC!)

Voting closed 27

Your last sentence, i. e.:

Baker really has some ‘splainin’ to do.

really does cut to the quick, if one gets the drift. You're absolutely right on your money! Bravo!

Voting closed 12


MA has only been allocated 1.5 million doses to date.

MA hospitals were sitting on a lot of those 400,000 doses not yet given. Of those 400,000 doses left in the state? We need enough for 8% of the MA population to get their second dose - about 550,000 doses..

That is what doesn't add up. But we will have enough arriving by the time those people are eligible for that second dose, and for those 75+ who are receiving their first doses to get their second doses.

But what about the next tier? Over 65/2+ morbidities?

We need over 3 million doses coming in over a six week period to cover that demand plus the 75+ crew getting their first and second doses.

That is double the amount landing in the state since December.

Moreover, the mix of vaccines matters - the supersites can handle the Pfizer, local health and community clinics generally cannot. Most of that 3 million needs to be Moderna.

Those are the numbers. Nothing surprising there - no conspiracy, no failure. Just lots of demands and not enough vaccine to cover it.


I can't vouch for the bale of hay, the goat, and the wolf, but here's the owl:

Sorry if logistical realities don't wash with your vast conspiracy theories or unrealistic demands.

Voting closed 8

Even a tad bit more transparency from the Baker administration about what is going on behind the curtain would go a long way towards building public trust. If the methodology is sound and reactive to the factors they cannot control, then I will never hold someone accountable for what they cannot control. I can only do that if I know enough about the situation at hand...

Anyways, thanks again for being the one to bring some clarity to us.

Voting closed 15