Cape Cod Response Task Force Keeping Public Updated on Vaccinations

Cape and Islands State Senator Julian Cyr.

HYANNIS – The Cape Cod COVID-19 Response Task Force, rebranded from the Cape Cod Reopening Task Force, recently said they will keep residents up to date on the latest information regarding COVID-19 vaccinations and encouraged residents to continue to have patience.

Task force member and Cape & Islands State Senator Julian Cyr said that the distribution plan priority list is the sole responsibility of Governor Charlie Baker and the Baker-Polito Administration, and that legislators who are members of the task force do not have sway over the vaccination plan. 

“The governor has been methodically announcing the roll-out of vaccinations. There is a plan and a process, however deliberate and slow, but the Administration is going in priority order of their vaccination plan,” said Cyr. 

“This is the largest coordinated health activity in the history of our Commonwealth, and it’s important that we get the implementation right. We don’t want to give an anxious public a date certain in the future that then is rolled back.”

Cyr said that the vaccine roll-out is moving at a breakneck pace relative to previous healthcare efforts, given that doses were only approved for distribution late last year.

Vaira Harik, Deputy Director with the Department of Human Services, said that the state Department of Public Health is not currently expected to open any mass vaccination sites on Cape Cod like that at Gillette Stadium, though Cyr said that sub-mass regional vaccination sites are being planned and will be ready by the time vaccines become readily available to the general public.

Cyr also said that the regional vaccination sites that have Barnstable County participation coordination will require identification from those looking to get vaccinated, as they need to assure that individuals get both their first and second doses.

Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment Director Sean O’Brien said that the County is working with local boards of health to ensure maximum coverage of the region.

“What I see happening is a hybrid model. I see some local clinics and what I see is the County working on some regional clinics. We’re looking at 5 sites right now on the upper, middle and lower cape. As we move forward with those, we will make all that information available to people.”

Hundreds of first responders were recently vaccinated at sites in Orleans, Barnstable and Sandwich, which Cyr said has also prepared officials for when larger-scale vaccinations efforts begin later in the year. 

Cyr said that it has not yet been determined if primary care providers will be required for individuals in the general public getting vaccinated, however he did say that the vaccine will be completely free, regardless of documentation.

Both Cyr and O’Brien said that the task force and County Health and Environment Department will make residents aware of any information that they get regarding vaccination efforts from the Governor’s office or from the federal level.

To assist in answering COVID questions and disseminating vaccine information, Barnstable County will also set up an informational hotline to be rolled-out in the coming days.

The general public is expected to begin receiving vaccinations as part of Phase 3 of the state’s vaccine distribution plan starting in April, according to mass.gov.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the CapeCod.com News Center in 2019.



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