Framingham’s 300 COVID Vaccine Appointments Already Booked; City Never Announced Them

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FRAMINGHAM – Tonight, January 28, just after 10 there were 300 appointments for Moderna COVID-19 vaccines available in Framingham at Keefe Technical High School for a clinic on February 6, on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts website.

By 11 p.m., the state’s website was showing 0 slots available.

The City of Framingham never acknowledged publicly it had any vaccines from the state, let alone 300.

The City of Framingham never even announced it was hosting a clinic.

On Wednesday, January 27, at 2 p.m., The City of Framingham issued a press release which said ” Why is the Framingham Health Department not hosting public vaccination clinics? Given limited vaccine supplies, the State of Massachusetts is not allocating local health departments vaccine for large public clinics. There are no Framingham Health Department public clinics scheduled for adults 75 and older at this time.”

State representatives and City Councilors asked the City of Framingham’s about the vaccines the State provided the City. The City kept saying it had no vaccines and was working on a plan.

“Since the announcement of the vaccine rollout, I have heard from many worried seniors concerned about vaccine availability in Framingham,” said at-large City Councilor Janet Leombruno. “I reached out to the Commonwealth to find out our status. I was informed there are 300 doses per week allotted to Framingham, but the state’s department of public health is waiting for the city to claim them.”

Leombruno said she was told on Wednesday night the state had 300 vaccines per week for the City of Framingham.

Multiple state officials confirmed the Massachusetts Department of Public Health had 300 vaccines for the City of Framingham

“I am told the city has 300 doses a week allocated by the state, so I am not sure why the city is confused about the matter.  I saw an email from our acting health director, confirming that we have doses. I hope the city can concentrate on trying to get clinics set up. Clearly we need many more doses, but lets get started,” said City Council Chair George P. King Jr.

But the Spicer administration’s spokesperson kept saying the city had no vaccines.

“Framingham is working on a clinic plan for older adults (over 75), but we do not have an idea of how much vaccine we will receive. When we know more, we will announce it. You will be on the distribution of that news,” said the City of Framingham’s Chief Information Officer Kelly McFalls, to the digital news outlet.

But tonight on January 28, the state’s vaccine website listed Keefe Technical as hosting a vaccine clinic on Saturday, Feb. 6 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

At 10:58 p.m., Jacob Mixon posted in a Framingham Facebook group there were vaccine slots in Framingham at Keefe Tech.

“Holy smokes. By the time I posted this remaining appointments had already filled up. I registered my grandparent at 10:37PM with ~ 287 available appointments, all were taken by 11:00PM,” posted Mixon.

The City of Framingham Chief Information Officer McFalls said “Framingham is working on a clinic plan for older adults (over 75), but we do not have an idea of how much vaccine we will receive. When we know more, we will announce it.”

But the City never announced it had those 300 vaccines and never announced there would be a clinic at Keefe Technical for seniors age 75 and older.

SOURCE emailed Mayor Yvonne Spicer, Interim Framingham Health Director Alex DePalo, State Rep. Maria Robinson, State Rep. Jack Patrick Lewis, and at large City Councilors King & Leombruno for comment after 11 p.m. Only Leombruno and King responded by the time this report was posted.

“Yesterday afternoon the Mayor tells us the State is NOT allocating vaccines to local public clinics. Last night I was told that DPH has 300 doses waiting to be released to Framingham. I emailed the mayor and BOH, and am told they will let me know ASAP when a site is found. Tonight I see Keefe Tech was chosen and put on the state website. Now the appointments are all gone. Our Framingham seniors deserve much better,” said Leombruno just before midnight.

And unlike the Town of Natick and the Town of Weston which were holding vaccine clinics for residents only, the original posting on the state’s website for Keefe Tech did not specific Framingham residents only. As as of 11:55 p.m. there were zero slots available.

Editor’s Note: After midnight, when all the slots were filled, someone changed the listing on the state’s website to say Framingham resident only.

“I am disappointed that the communication on this has been so poor,” said City Council Chair King. “Obviously the number of people we can serve is limited, and it is going to take a while to get it all done. It is not realistic for everyone 75+ to expect they can get a shot this week or maybe this month. But it is realistic to expect clear communication as to an orderly manner to gain access at the earliest possible time.”

Governor Charlie Baker said today, January 28, that the roll out for vaccine slots was “frustrating” on day 1, Wednesday, January 28.

“The whole situation is untenable and unacceptable. I have had people contacting me since midnight about getting a slot. I understand people’s frustrations and know that I share them tenfold,” said Rep. Robinson on Wednesday afternoon.

The state’s seniors age 75 and older are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine starting Monday, February 1.

But on that first day many Framingham seniors and even more seniors across the Commonwealth, were frustrated with the process, only found clinics far from their homes, or found no vaccine clinic openings at all.

Obviously, there was a high demand, Gov. Baker said.

“I am also overwhelmed with emails frustrated at the lack of a Framingham location, especially those who cannot or do not drive. We are also regularly reminding the administration that not everyone can sign up via a website, although there do not appear to be clear plans on how to sign up if you don’t have an email or a computer. My office can try to help, but the registration process does require the input of personal information. We are pleading with the Administration to put in some phone lines,” said Rep. Robinson on Wednesday.

Gov. Baker said the Commonwealth received about 100,000 vaccines from the federal government.

Baker said 20,000 appointments at Fenway Park and 20,000 appointments were gone within a day. The Governor said another 15,000 appointments were added at mass vaccination sites in Danvers and Springfield, and those also were booked by mid-day Thursday.

Massachusetts Department of Public Health has said it would give about 100 vaccines to cities & town weekly for those residents who can not get to the mass vaccine centers, be it lack of transportation, disability. etc.

Framingham is getting triple that — 300 vaccines per week.

Newly-sworn in President Joseph R. Biden has pledged 100 million vaccines during his first 100 days.

“We can only move as fast as the federal government shifts vaccines to the Commonwealth,” Gov. Baker told the press during a media briefing.

Presently, Massachusetts has more than 100 vaccine sites, with a capacity to give 240,000 doses weekly.  Those sites include Gillette Stadium, and soon Fenway Park starting February 1.

On Monday, Gov. Baker outlined a plan to accelerate COVID-19 vaccines sites to 165, with a capacity of 305,000 doses per week

In MetroWest public vaccine sites, open to all eligible for the vaccine are:

editor

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