Baker: State reaches goal of 4.1M residents fully vaccinated
BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts has reached its goal of fully vaccinating 4.1 million residents against the coronavirus, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Tuesday.
“Today, we have hit our administration’s goal of fully vaccinating 4.1 M residents,” Baker wrote on Twitter. “This is thanks to the hard work of health care workers and vaccine clinic volunteers, and to the people of MA for getting vaccinated.”
The state’s population is about 6.9 million, according to the Census Bureau.
All told, more than 8.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Massachusetts as of Monday.
That includes more than 4.3 million first doses and more than 3.8 million second doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.
There have been more than 270,000 doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered.
Baker’s announcement came on the same day the White House acknowledged that President Joe Biden will fall short of reaching his goal of vaccinating 70% of all American adults with at least one shot by the Fourth of July.
Massachusetts has been closing its mass vaccination sites in favor of smaller, more targeted vaccination clinics. There are still about 900 locations in the state to get a shot.
Baker has said that variants, including the delta variant, now pose the greatest risk to the state.
The Hynes Convention Center in Boston is ending vaccination efforts on Tuesday; the Natick Mall site is closing Wednesday; and the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston is closing on Sunday.
The mass vaccination clinic at Gillette Stadium has already closed.
FEDERAL RELIEF FUNDS:
Democratic state lawmakers are putting the brakes on a plan by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker to use nearly $3 billion in federal pandemic-relief funds to support homeownership, economic development, job training, health care and infrastructure with a focus on populations and areas that suffered the most from COVID-19.
Baker announced the proposal last week saying it would “help jump-start our economic recovery.”
But key lawmakers are saying not so fast.
“The Legislature will be rejecting the governor’s amendment to immediately spend $2.815 billion in available American Rescue Plan funds,” Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Ronald Mariano said in a written statement Monday. “Our actions this week will preserve the funds while allowing all parties to participate in the discussion and help make decisions about how to allocate these resources.”
The move was not unexpected, but does delay the quick release of the federal funds — which have become a centerpiece in a political tug-of-war between lawmakers and Baker.
Baker’s plan would have devoted a large chunk of the money — $1 billion — to funding homeownership and housing priorities, to spur home building and reduce barriers to homeownership. Another $450 million would have gone to spark economic development in downtown areas disproportionally impacted by COVID-19 and to support cultural facilities and sites popular with tourists.
Spilka and Mariano said the Legislature will hold hearings throughout the summer to get input from local residents and others before deciding how to spend the money. They said Baker and members of the administration are invited to testify.
“The Legislature stands firm in its commitment to employing an open, transparent and thorough public process to best understand how we as a state can make smart investments with these one-time federal dollars to address pressing and long-term needs while promoting a just recovery for all areas of the state,” the two said.
VIRUS BY THE NUMBERS
The number of new daily cases of COVID-19 increased by about 30 on Monday while the number of newly confirmed coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts rose by one.
The new numbers pushed the state’s confirmed COVID-19 death toll to 17,613 since the start of the pandemic, while its confirmed caseload rose to more than 663,300.
The true number of cases is likely higher because studies suggest some people can be infected and not feel sick.
There were about 100 people reported hospitalized Monday because of confirmed cases of COVID-19, with more than 30 in intensive care units.
The average age of those hospitalized was 59. There were an estimated 1,800 people with current active cases of COVID-19 in the state.