Baker Needs to Free Up Vaccine for New Bedford [OPINION]
Mayor Jon Mitchell doesn't know when the next shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine will arrive in New Bedford or how many doses he can expect. It's not Mitchell's fault. The Baker Administration has screwed up the distribution process miserably and either can't or won't provide that information. This is no way to run a pandemic.
Nursing home residents in New Bedford are being inoculated, a process Mitchell hopes to complete by sometime next week. After that, the mayor tells me, residents of senior housing will begin to be vaccinated. Some of that will be done through a federal program, and I believe he said CVS will be involved. I have friends in senior housing in Connecticut that have already received both doses of the vaccine.
Beyond that, Mitchell says he hopes elderly residents who live in their own homes can begin receiving the vaccine sometime soon, but we still don't know when or where. This is absurd.
Even once residents of senior housing begin to receive the vaccination, seniors who live independently will not be eligible under Baker's rollout plan. After initially being overlooked by the state, New Bedford will get a mass vaccination site. But where it will be located, and when, is still unclear as well.
A 97-year old World War ll combat vet from Ludlow recently had to be driven to Hyannis to receive his vaccine. He lives alone in his own home, and that made him ineligible to receive a dose when his friends in senior housing were inoculated. The man was allowed to get a shot when the case got publicity in the local papers. Inmates and addicts have already been inoculated, but it took raising some hell to get a dose for an elderly combat vet.
The Baker Administration needs to get its act together on this and fast. Our patience is running thin.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.