Live updates: The latest news on the coronavirus pandemic in Massachusetts

Follow the latest reports on COVID-19 in Massachusetts below.

Boston will use mobile COVID-19 vaccination teams to reach city residents (March 3)

The City of Boston will start using mobile COVID-19 vaccination teams this weekend in an effort to ensure the doses are distributed equitably to residents, GBH reports

The first stop for the mobile team will be a visit by personnel from Boston Emergency Medical Services to a Boston Housing Authority building in Roxbury. 

“This is really an effort to vaccinate folks where they need the vaccines to come to them,” Marty Martinez, the city’s Health and Human Services chief, said Tuesday, according to GBH

Three teams will be used to distribute vaccines across the city in the coming weeks and months.

A Black History Month vaccination drive will be held at the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury on Saturday and Sunday (Feb. 26)

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A Black History Month vaccination drive will be held Saturday and Sunday at the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury.

Registration is required for the event, organized by the Black Boston COVID-19 Coalition — a group of Black civic, business, and public health leaders.

Dr. Ellana Stinson, the new Mass General Brigham medical director of the inoculation site at the Reggie Lewis Center and a member of the coalition, told The Boston Globe she has recruited about 65 Black doctors and nurses to volunteer to administer doses for the drive.

Having providers and staff at the site who look like the members of the community arriving for care will make a difference repairing trust between Black patients, often accustomed to having their own pain downplayed or dismissed by clinicians, and health care systems, she said.

“I think we could be a model for other communities …. You don’t want to be the only one,” Stinson said. “No one wants to be the only one.”

Read the full report at the Globe.

Ahead of hearing, COVID-19 oversight committee co-chair disputes Charlie Baker’s ‘false choice’ on vaccine rollout (Feb. 24)

State Sen. Jo Comerford says that Gov. Charlie Baker is presenting a choice between equity and efficiency in the state’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout. But the Northampton Democrat says that Massachusetts “can and should” have it both ways.

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“Baker wants us to make a false choice — telling us through his chaotic and ill-communicated vaccine rollout that we have to choose between speed and scale of delivery at the expense of equity of all kinds,” Comerford wrote Wednesday in a Greenfield Recorder column. “I reject this.”

The column comes the day before the first hearing held by the state legislature’s new Joint Committee on COVID-19 and Emergency Preparedness and Management, which Comerford co-chairs. Baker is expected to testify at the 11 a.m. hearing Thursday.

While she acknowledged that the Baker administration is dealing with a constrained supply of vaccine doses from the federal government that does not meet demand, Comerford wrote Wednesday that she plans to press officials on the recent crash of the state’s vaccine website crash and their commitment to transparency and equity across race, class, and geography.

“We must restore faith in the state’s ability to respond to a crisis,” Comerford wrote. “And, until we do, I recognize that it’s impossible for commonwealth residents to have patience on top of so much that’s broken.”

After targeting the state’s most vulnerable populations during the first phase of the vaccine rollout, leading to criticism of its relatively slow pace, the Baker administration has shifted the state’s supply of doses to larger, most efficient mass vaccination sites as the number of people eligible expands. However, that move — exacerbated by the vaccine website crash last week — led to additional criticism that the administration’s approach overlooked certain communities.

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Baker’s administration has begun encouraging local cities and towns to form regional collaboratives to distribute the vaccine in a more streamlined manner, while also directing $4.7 million into a vaccination effort aimed at the 20 communities in Massachusetts that have been hardest hit by the pandemic.

Asked about the upcoming hearing, Baker told reporters Wednesday that his administration has been in regular contact with members of the State House about the state’s COVID-19 response for the past year. The governor added that the new oversight committee, which he called a “good thing,” marks the beginning of discussions about how the state will emerge from the pandemic.

“I think that’s a perfectly appropriate kind of conversation for us to be having,” Baker said.

Mass vaccination site opens in Dartmouth, as some hospitals announce limited new appointments for shots (Feb. 24)

The first mass vaccination site on the South Coast opened Wednesday in Dartmouth, housed at the location of the town’s former Circuit City. Run by provider Curative, which also is responsible for the state’s mass vaccination sites in Springfield and Danvers, the new location is expected to begin administering 500 doses of the vaccine per day, with the expectation that number will increase over the coming weeks to 2,000 doses daily. 

According to WCVB, all available appointments for the Dartmouth site are currently booked, but new appointments at the state’s mass vaccination sites open each Thursday. 

As the new site kicks off work vaccinating eligible Massachusetts residents, some hospitals announced they have plans to resume offering a limited number of vaccination appointments to patients, WCVB reports. The move comes after Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration opted to halt the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines to hospitals in order to focus on “high-throughput locations like mass vaccination sites,” according to The Boston Globe

The Globe reports that since that shut off of supply, state health officials reached an agreement with 15 health systems and hospitals that allows the institutions to rejoin the vaccination effort. The plan reportedly allows vaccine doses to be allocated to 13 of the organizations who are willing to vaccinate eligible residents, while Mass General Brigham and Beth Israel Lahey Health are being allowed to offer the vaccine exclusively to their patients. 

According to WCVB, both Mass General Brigham and Beth Israel Lahey Health are offering limited new appointments to patients who meet the state’s current eligibility requirements.

Last week’s updates can be found here.

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