To the editor: Gov. Charlie Baker praised local vaccination efforts on Thursday as well he should ("On tour of BCC clinic, Baker lauds Berkshire Vaccine Collaborative as 'highly efficient'," Eagle, Friday).
His vaccine rollout deserves no such praise. The efficient Berkshire Community College operation can deliver 2,000 shots each day, but the Baker administration fails to take advantage and sends doses elsewhere.
From my own experience, the Baker administration has completely failed Berkshire County. I started looking for vaccinations in early April for my wife and myself (both over 70). I quickly realized that using the recommended websites (maimmunizations.org and getvaccinatedberkshires.org) never once showed appointments in Berkshire County. I only found a few openings in Greenfield, Randolph or Methuen.
We preregistered at vaccinesignup.mass.gov and I continued my search each day, never to find a single Berkshire County opening. After two weekly messages from vaccinesignup.org noting we were still in the queue (i.e., stay on the line, your business is important to us) we finally were notified on April 18 with options on May 2 to go to Eastfield Mall or Gillette Stadium — not exactly in Berkshire County. I finally got up at 4 a.m. one day and found an April 22 appointment at Mercy Hospital which is another fine and efficient operation and we were happy to get our first shots there. It was a 125-mile round trip.
My questions are these. Why can’t a resident of Berkshire County get vaccinated here? Why won’t Baker send more vaccines to the highly efficient and convenient sites like BCC? Why doesn’t the Baker administration lobby the federal government to obtain doses from the many states having lower rates of vaccine distribution? Why is Massachusetts only ninth (84 percent distributed) getting vaccinations into arms? Why does the state have 1 million doses from its allocation that have not been used? All I can say is “One heck of a job, Baker!”
Jim Neureuther, Lanesborough