By Matt Murphy | January 29, 2021
BOSTON – Attorney General Maura Healey said Thursday that Gov. Charlie Baker should adopt a “wartime” approach to COVID-19 vaccination, questioning why the state doesn’t have a centralized website where people can preregister for a vaccine and get notified when doses become available.
The Republican governor has been under fire in recent days after his administration opened up vaccine registration to seniors 75 and older, who have become frustrated and angry to find that appointments are limited due to the availability of vaccine from the federal government.
“We need to approach this as sort of a wartime endeavor, very centralized, top down,” Healey said during an interview on WGBH’s Boston Public Radio.
Healey said she’s visited the state’s website and found it to be full of information, but “way more complicated than it needs to be.”
She said residents should be able to type in their zip code, choose a provider, and get notified when vaccine doses are available or automatically be scheduled for an appointment.
“You can’t have seniors waking up at midnight to see what’s been refreshed on some of these systems,” Healey said.
The attorney general also said she supported the creation of a call center to help people, especially seniors, who may not be comfortable navigating the process online.
Baker announced Thursday that his administration would be setting up a call center by next week.
“I think what a lot of people are feeling in terms of frustration is a lack of communication. I think there is a plan. I think there is a plan to address issues of equity, which are critically important…But I think the problem is on the lack of details about how this is actually being rolled out,” Healey said. “If the public knew, for example, that we’ve only been receiving I think 80,000 doses of vaccines a week for a population of 7 million maybe that would have helped in terms of expectation setting,” she said.
Baker has been urging patience since registration for seniors opened Wednesday, repeatedly pointing to the limited supply and high demand for the vaccine.
He said Thursday that next week’s allotment from the federal government is expected to grow to 100,000 new first doses.
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