Worcester To Get 950 Vaccines Weekly, UMass Opening Clinic

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WORCESTER, MA — The city of Worcester next week will begin receiving 950 COVID-19 vaccine doses each week as Massachusetts prepares for the next phase of inoculations — but the influx of shots comes amid frustration about the speed of the state's vaccine rollout.

Worcester City Manager Edward Augustus Jr. said during the city's weekly press briefing that the city has identified a mass vaccination site — and has identified a medical partner and volunteers — but is waiting on a "green light" from state officials. He declined to disclose the location of the site.

"I'm guessing part of the hesitation is there's not enough flow of vaccines," he said.

So far in January, Worcester has doled out 2,727 vaccines. That number includes first responders like police and firefighters, homeless populations and people living in congregate care settings.

Meanwhile, UMass Memorial is planning to open a COVID-19 vaccine clinic for the health system's patients in time for Monday, when people over age 75 can begin getting shots at the beginning of the second phase of the vaccine rollout.

The state on Wednesday began allowing people over 75 to make appointments to get vaccines, but many were unable to find time slots, and expressed confusion over the state's vaccine website. Gov. Charlie Baker urged residents to continue to check the state website because "eventually an opportunity will become available."

On the positive side, Worcester officials reported 815 new cases this week, which is the third week in a row with an overall decline. Coronavirus deaths, however, have been steady. Thirty people died at the city's two main hospitals over the last week. There were 24 deaths in the week ending Jan. 21.

So far in the pandemic, Worcester has recorded 18,829 cases and 367 deaths.

This article originally appeared on the Worcester Patch