Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley is imploring Gov. Charlie Baker to urgently address disparities in vaccination rates affecting Black and brown communities, that she says are evident in recent data.
In a letter to Baker, Pressley, citing statistics in the weekly vaccination report released by the state Department of Public Health on January 14, said, “Black and Latinx residents make up less than 3 percent and 4 percent respectively of those who have been vaccinated thus far, whereas White residents makeup nearly 60% of those fully vaccinated.”
“The fact that the communities that have been hardest hit, who should have been prioritized, are in such an anemic percentage, is deeply troubling,” the congresswoman said during an interview on Greater Boston.
Pressley also said she also had other overarching concerns on the Baker administration’s rollout of vaccinations, which is currently in Phase 1, with vaccinations available to frontline medical workers and first responders. Phase 2, which is expected to begin Feb. 1, will give residents age 75 and over access to the vaccine.
"We should be a national model. We should not be lagging so frightfully behind,” Pressley said. “It' unacceptable. It's been delayed. It's been disorganized… I was particularly disturbed by the state's response to those that were 75- plus seeking to access the vaccine and sign up through the website. To be told, ‘persistence beats resistance,’ is just insulting.”
Pressley said she’s been hearing from people in her district that they are experiencing waits of up to five hours to schedule an appointment to be vaccinated, something she also called “unacceptable.”