Baker says Mass. residents not hesitant to get COVID-19 vaccine, urges ‘everybody’ to book appointments – The Boston Globe

But in Massachusetts, Baker said, residents are overwhelmingly following through.

“Here in Massachusetts, we’re north of 99 percent of the population gets their second vaccine,” Baker said. “Part of that’s because we do everything we can to encourage providers to book that second appointment while people are still there having their waiting period after their first one.”

Jade Fulce, a CDC spokesperson, said via e-mail Monday that it’s hugely important for people to complete the two-dose cycle if they get Pfizer or Moderna.

“Ensuring second dose completion of the vaccine is critical in helping to protect people from COVID-19,” Fulce wrote. “Jurisdictions can work with providers to prioritize administering second doses over initiating first doses (for vaccines that require two doses), reschedule appointments for canceled clinics, repurpose missed second doses, and promote the importance of receiving a second dose for the best protection.”

Fulce said a “variety of reminder systems [are] being used — through mechanisms including email, text messages and phone calls — to reach out to individuals when it’s time to return for a second dose.”

In addition, Fulce said, vaccine providers “should encourage enrollment in v-safe, the after-vaccination health checker, and VaxText, which will remind an individual when to return for their second dose.”

And the single-shot Johnson & Johnson dose remains an option, despite some recent hiccups.

Baker said the state will continue to administer the J&J vaccine. Federal officials on Friday lifted an 11-day pause that had been in place while researchers investigated reports of a very small number of recipients developing a rare blood clotting condition, out of some 7 million Americans who’ve gotten the J&J shot.

“I do think we will continue to make J&J available, especially to reach some of those harder to reach populations, where the ease of use and the single dose can make a big difference for people,” Baker said.

He stressed that the emerging COVID-19 variants have hit younger people harder than the initial strains did last year, adding urgency to the ongoing vaccination drive.

“I do think we’re getting to the point where people, for the most part … should be able to get an appointment pretty quickly, and I would encourage them to do so,” Baker said. “One of the things we’ve said about these new variants, several times, is these variants have been much tougher on younger people than some of the earlier strains of COVID.”

And with the 65-and-over crowd largely vaccinated, Baker said, younger residents between their 20s and 50s are ending up in the hospital more often.

“One of the things I don’t want young people, or younger people, to walk away believing is that, you know, this isn’t about them, this isn’t going to affect them,” Baker said. “These new variants are clearly more troubling for younger people than some of the earlier strains of COVID. And I would urge everybody, because everybody over the age of 16 is now eligible, to go get a vaccine.”

In another encouraging sign, the amount of coronavirus in waster water is on the decline at the MWRA’s Deer Island treatment plant.

The water is being tested for SARS-CoV-2 copies per milliliter as part of a pilot project that is intended to serve as an early warning system for future surges in the pandemic.

The seven-day average of virus traces in the waste water declined for seven of the last eight days for the southern section of the MWRA system. For the northern section of the system, which includes Boston, the levels have dropped for nine days in a row. The data reflects tests taken as recently as last Thursday.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Martin Finucane of the Globe staff contributed.

Travis Andersen can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.

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