Who came up with this ridiculous plan for doling out COVID-19 vaccinations in Massachusetts? Whoever it was should be fired immediately. This is absurd!

On Friday, we learned that mass vaccination sites have been established pretty much everywhere but here in Southeastern Massachusetts, including the Cape and Islands. Gee, there is a shocker. New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell railed against the decision on my Friday program, and my listeners called out the legislative delegation. How could a plan such as that be approved without our delegates making sure that their district was included?

Fear not, by Friday night, Senator Mark Montigny's office issued a statement insisting the good senator was hard at work on it. A little late, no?

To add insult to injury, Commonwealth Magazine reports some 13,200 prison inmates and about 80,000 residents and staff at homeless shelters, substance use treatment programs, and group homes will begin receiving the vaccine today. That places them ahead of most Massachusetts seniors, many of whom have underlying conditions that put them at high risk of contracting the virus.

What the hell is going on here?

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker defended the decision during a news conference last week. “These facilities are prioritized because they serve vulnerable populations in densely populated settings, which means they’re at significant risk for contracting COVID-19,” he said.

Commonwealth Magazine reports the priority will shift to the most vulnerable sometime next month. "The second phase of the rollout is set to begin in mid-February and will start with residents over age 75 and people with two or more serious health conditions," the article read.

The Baker Administration's policies that prioritize young healthy inmates and addicts over our frail and elderly population is appalling, to say the least. This administration has shown its disdain and disrespect for our aged population from the beginning of this crisis. Ask those who lost loved ones at the Soldier's Home in Holyoke.

Our seniors built those prisons and treatment facilities and defended their inhabitants. They should be given top priority for the vaccine and not be forced to wait while those who are a burden on our society are treated first.

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 barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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