House Efforts on the COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout
The MA legislature is doubling its effort to obtain aid from the federal government which could prioritize funding for extended hours and weekend service at the 211 Call Center. Additionally, Rep. Stanley recently voted to ensure that the Legislature is actively engaged in a transparent process to allocate federal aid and ensure that the public has the ability to track it. The fiscal 2021 budget contained sections requiring the Baker administration to publish a website that provides expenditure information about COVID-related federal grants and created a federal COVID-19 response fund to retain certain federal funds received by the commonwealth for further expenditure.
According to recent CDC data, Massachusetts ranked 13th from the bottom of states in vaccine distributions, per 100,000 residents. These results are unacceptable and will require immediate response. Thankfully, last week our partners in the Biden-Harris Administration approved over $200 million from FEMA to support the Commonwealth with emergency protective measures to store, handle, transport, distribute, and administer the COVID-19 vaccine.
As we await additional information and as current and additional federal resources are allocated, sufficient funding must be made available to achieve mobile vaccination sites; transportation for eligible participants to vaccination sites; accommodations for individuals with disabilities in booking and receiving vaccines; an improved website with a simplified process to book available vaccine appointments; regional access to vaccination sites across the Commonwealth; specific focus on vaccine equity issues to improve access in our hardest hit communities and gateway cities; and assistance to local boards of health to coordinate response.