Gov. Charlie Baker again defended his administration’s handling of the state’s vaccine rollout efforts during a public hearing Tuesday before a state legislative panel monitoring the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Under both the Trump and Biden administrations, the federal government has distributed vaccines through the same channels we are using: mass vaccination sites, pharmacies, and community health centers,” the Republican said.
He made the comments before a virtual hearing of the Joint Committee on COVID-19 and Emergency Preparedness and Management.
Lawmakers pressed Baker on a range of topics, including the state’s heavy reliance on mass vaccinations sites to get shots into arms despite long-standing plans to rely on the state’s local public health infrastructure in a public health emergency.
The administration seems to have “thrown the playbook out and decided on something completely different,” said state Sen. Cindy Friedman, an Arlington Democrat.
Baker said shots have been distributed at a range of locations, including mass vaccination sites, hospitals, Walgreens and CVS and regional collaboratives and local health departments.
The immediate goal is to fully vaccinate 4.1 million Massachusetts residents — a number Baker said will effectively constitute herd immunity for the state.
As of Tuesday, 1.1 million Massachusetts residents have been fully vaccinated.