Gov. Charlie Baker announces the beginning of vaccine appointments for individuals ages 65 and over and those with two or more comorbidities, including asthma, at a press conference on Feb. 17. (Photo courtesy Joshua Qualls/Governor’s Press Office)

In a letter to local health officials today, Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders announced changes intended to streamline the vaccine delivery process for Massachusetts. The announcement comes as the state moves ahead to open vaccine eligibility to people 65 and older, and those with two or more complex medical conditions, beginning tomorrow.

With the state’s vaccine supply from the federal government limited to 110,000 first doses per week, and more than a million more people now eligible to receive vaccines, the administration is giving priority to maximum efficiency, with a process that emphasizes large-scale state-run sites, augmented by big regional clinics and pharmacy sites. While communities will be guaranteed delivery of all second doses, effective the week of March 1, the delivery of first doses to municipal clinics will be discontinued, except in the 20 hardest-hit communities.

The state is asking cities and towns to play the lead role in vaccine delivery for homebound and hard-to-reach seniors and individuals, and age-restricted affordable housing facilities for seniors. The Department of Public Health will be providing a webinar and toolkit to local boards of health on Friday morning. Further, to address gaps in geographic coverage, communities working in regional collaborations will be able to consult with the DPH to stand up larger clinics, following criteria outlined in the letter sent by Sudders.

The administration yesterday announced a targeted campaign to assist the 20 communities hardest-hit by COVID-19, with a special focus on equitable delivery of the vaccine.