Massachusetts Gov. Baker Needs to Get Out of the Way [OPINION]
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker needs to step aside and hand off the COVID-19 vaccine rollout to someone more competent than he. Judging by the folks he has surrounded himself with, I am not sure that person exists.
After encouraging communities to establish local vaccine distribution sites, Baker on Wednesday pulled the rug out from under them. The administration announced no further doses would be made available to them but instead would be shipped to mass vaccination sites. Many of those sites are regional and are difficult for older folks to get to.
On Thursday, Baker added one million more people to the pool of those eligible to schedule vaccination appointments and the computer program crashed immediately. Meanwhile, folks 75 and older who have been struggling to schedule appointments and are not on the internet are competing against one million more people who are scrambling for the same slots.
What a disaster!
Baker says he is "pissed off" and promises to do better. Appearing on Boston NPR affiliate WGBH Baker said, "This is not satisfactory...it's awful. It's going to get fixed and I'm going to work very hard to make sure it doesn't happen again." Hey Charlie, we're pissed off too and we're sick of the excuses.
Baker rejected the idea of a centralized system where folks could pre-register for vaccine doses that would be distributed based on the phases of the state's existing plans. The system has worked well in other states. Baker now says he is considering it and would "probably have more to say about it over the course of the next few weeks." The next few weeks?
Baker also opposed President Donald Trump's proposal to have the military handle the rollout, insisting the governors could do a better job. Now, Baker says he may activate the National Guard to go to Tennessee and Kentucky and bring vaccine doses back to Massachusetts. Trump's other critic, President Joe Biden, has failed in his commitment to deliver vaccine doses to states that need them.
What a mess!
The Massachusetts Senate is scheduled to conduct a hearing next week into the Baker Administration's vaccine rollout. Why wait? Let's get this done before more people die or become ill from this virus.
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 email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions
While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.