News Flash

Home

Posted on: February 18, 2021

Mayor Gove Calls on Governor Baker to Deliver COVID-19 Vaccine

news_item_mailchimp_news_12

The City of Amesbury, along with our regional municipal partners, received one shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine in early January, which was utilized for Phase One emergency responders and healthcare professionals. Since then, Amesbury's Public Health officials applied for and was approved to hold a vaccination clinic at Amesbury High School, but has been continually denied on requests for more vaccine. We have heard from many residents that the mass vaccination sites set up are not ideal, for many reasons including accessibility, transporation, distance, and more. We've heard that the sites closer to Amesbury are almost impossible to get an appointment for. We have been working and preparing to hold a City-run vaccine clinic, but we can't do that without the vaccine. 

Mayor Gove sent a letter (below) to Governor Baker and Secretary Sudders with her concerns and frustrations on this matter. Amesbury stands ready and willing to help get our residents vaccinated, and now we just need the support from the State and the vaccine. Governor Baker's administration has instead decided to send all available vaccine to the mass vaccination sites and to for-profit companies, rather than working with municipalities. Senator Diana DiZoglio also sent a letter on behalf of Amesbury.

Mayor Gove was interviewed by Fox 25 about everything we've been doing throughout the pandemic for our community, and how disappointing it is that we are being denied to receive the vaccine.

Guilfoil PR, the agency that works with the Amesbury Fire Department, also put out a statement.

We need your help! 

Mayor Gove is just one voice, representing Amesbury. If you would like to be another voice being heard on this matter, please call, email or tweet to Governor Baker, Secretary Sudders, Commissioner Bharel and others to let them know that you want to see a City-run vaccine clinic. Feel free to pull quotes from Mayor Gove's letter below as talking points. 

CallEmailTweet

Governor Baker
(617) 725-4005


Secretary Sudders
Exec. Office of Health and Human Services
(617) 573-1600


Commissioner Bharel
Massachusetts Department of Public Health
(617) 624-5206



Email Governor Baker's Office


Email the Exec. Office of Health and Human Services


Email the MA Department of Public Health

(copy and paste)


Give municipalities like @CityofAmesbury the COVID-19 vaccine so we can take care of our communities, @MassGovernor. We're ready to go. @MassLtGov @MassHHS @MassDPH #COVID19MA


The @CityofAmesbury is ready to administer the COVID-19 vaccine, we're just waiting on @MassGovernor to work with municipalities on this, not private companies. @MassLtGov @MassHHS @MassDPH #COVID19MA


The @CItyofAmesbury knows our residents, and they know and trust us to give them the COVID-19 vaccine. @MassGovernor, work with municipalities. @MassLtGov @MassHHS @MassDPH #COVID19MA


Letter to the Governor

February 18, 2021 

Governor Charlie Baker 
Massachusetts State House 
24 Beacon Street 
Boston, MA 02133 

Secretary Marylou Sudders
Executive Office of Health and Human Services
One Ashburn Place, 11th Floor
Boston, MA 02108

Dear Governor Baker and Secretary Sudders,

I am writing to share concerns and frustrations with the current vaccine rollout in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and specifically as it impacts residents of the City of Amesbury. 

Throughout this pandemic you have entrusted local public health officials to be the beacon of information and support for communities, and yet we have been continually denied on our requests for the COVID-19 vaccine.  

For the last year, we have worked tirelessly to connect and engage with our community about the Coronavirus; sharing and enforcing the guidance handed down by your offices. Our residents see our public health officials and municipal leadership as a trusted source of information and assistance. As news of the COVID-19 vaccine phased rollout ramped up, so did we. Assuming that your administration would continue to see us as the leaders in our community to administer the vaccine, we recruited volunteers, we applied for and had approved a vaccination site to serve nine area communities, and we told our residents that the vaccine was coming. Yet here we are weeks later without any vaccine.  
 
Just today, I’ve learned that the prior approval we received to be a vaccination site may no longer be valid as you close down the municipal vaccination program and launch an effort towards regionalization.  While I applaud the decision to pivot towards what I hope will be a more organized effort for the vaccine rollout, I urge you to be clear on the expectations and the timeline for this shift. As I said, Amesbury created a regional partnership with eight other communities, and yet our requests for vaccine were still denied. When I asked if there were other requirements we had not yet met through our regional efforts, and when we could expect to receive more information, I was told that information was not yet available. We are working hard to meet the requirements and benchmarks set by this administration, but we can’t do that if the requirements continue to change and communication isn’t clear.  

I know the vaccine is going to mass vaccination sites, which are run by private companies, and is being given to private organizations. A private pharmacist recently came to Amesbury to hold a clinic and told us that he is able to receive 3,000 doses per week - 3,000 per week! - and we are unable to get any at all. For this clinic, held by someone outside of our community on private property, we provided Police and traffic management, paramedics and emergency response, and all communications, because none of that was thought of or provided by the pharmacist but it was desperately needed. He was here strictly to make money. While everyone vaccinated that day has an appointment for their second dose on March 5th, we have no idea if he will have the vaccine available for them. The City should be receiving regular shipments of the vaccine so we can properly plan and prepare for first and second doses.  

After a single shipment to vaccinate emergency responders and healthcare providers for phase one, we have been continually denied our requests for vaccine for our community at large. It is astonishing that municipalities, who have worked tirelessly with your administration throughout this pandemic, are being shunned in favor of private companies who are in this to make money. We are in this to keep our residents safe, healthy, and alive.  

I have heard directly from our residents that many of them are waiting for a City-run vaccine clinic, because they trust us. They don’t want to travel an hour or more to Danvers, Boston or Foxboro, and in fact they won’t travel there. And in the words of one of our residents who did choose to go to Danvers for their vaccine, “This is a zoo! We’ve been ushered to 3 different waiting areas, and our appointment was 45 minutes ago.” Another resident called my office for her 90-year-old mother, who is homebound and waiting for the vaccine, which she needs to be able to get into a nursing home facility who can help care for her. They won’t let her in without it. We receive dozens of phone calls and emails daily asking why we don’t have a City-run clinic up and running yet, and all we can say is that we’re ready, but we don’t have the vaccine.  

For many of our seniors, who haven’t left their homes in almost a year, they deserve to stay in a familiar community and see faces they know. For the last year, we have been delivering their groceries, giving them information and updates, sending them “thinking of you” cards and doing weekly phone call check-ins, providing virtual social programs, and making sure they are supported in every way. Due to the choices made by this administration, we are letting them down now.  

I know you believe that the strategy you have chosen – to funnel available vaccine to the mass vaccination sites and private providers – is the best one, but listen to your constituents. Listen to us when we tell you that you have made the wrong decision. We can run clinics efficiently and safely, and in a community that our residents know and with people they trust.  

If you’re not going to give vaccine to local governments and boards of health, just say so. Don’t make us apply week after week only to be denied again and again (even after approving our vaccination site). Don’t make us go back to our community time and time again with no answers for them, telling them they have to go to a mass vaccination site or fight to get an appointment at a site closer to home. It’s not fair to us, and it’s not fair to them. You should be doing everything in your power to make sure that vaccine distribution is equitable and accessible for everyone in Massachusetts, and forcing everyone to mass vaccination sites is not the answer. It’s not too late to turn this around and do the right thing.  

Give us the vaccine, we are ready.  

Sincerely, 

Kassandra Gove 
Mayor 

Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in Home

Mayor Gove with COVID19 Memorial Day Proclamation

COVID-19 Memorial Day

Posted on: March 7, 2022
News Flash - 2021 By the Numbers

Mayor's Blog: 2021 By the Numbers

Posted on: February 7, 2022
News Flash - 2030 Open Space and Recreation

I AMesbury 2030: Recreation Goals

Posted on: February 3, 2022
MVRTA Ribbon Cutting

Route 51 Change for MVRTA

Posted on: January 31, 2022
Photo of mural that says The Art of Community

Amesbury Cultural Council FY22 Grants

Posted on: January 18, 2022