• Breakthrough COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts also increased by more than 6,000 in one week
  • Massachusetts is administering approximately 50,000 vaccine doses each day
  • Many residents are forced to wait days to weeks for a booster shot appointment

At least 34 fully vaccinated people have died of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, according to state data. Breakthrough COVID-19 cases and deaths in the state remain high even as the demand for booster shots of vaccines surges across the state. 

The deaths were recorded between Nov. 20 and 27, raising the state’s total toll of breakthrough deaths to 586, the data stated.

COVID-19 cases among the state’s vaccinated population also rose significantly over the past week, increasing by 6,610 during the same period. Massachusetts has now reported a total of 77,647 breakthrough coronavirus infections since vaccinations began on Dec. 14, 2020.

The number of breakthrough deaths represents 0.01% of the state’s fully vaccinated population. The number of breakthrough cases represents 1.6% of Massachusetts’ vaccinated population, according to the data published by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

COVID-19 hospitalizations among the fully vaccinated also increased between Nov. 20 and 27 by 158. The state has now reported a total of 2,443 breakthrough hospitalizations since December 2020, representing 0.05% of all fully vaccinated individuals in Massachusetts. 

The numbers come as booster shot appointments in the state are surging, with health officials administering approximately 50,000 doses each day. However, the high demand has also made it harder for many residents to secure slots. 

In some places, people may need to wait days or weeks for the next available appointments, according to Massachusetts' VaxFinder website. Major pharmacies like CVS or Walgreens also advise residents to book at least two weeks out. Pop up vaccination sites are also out of appointment slots. 

Gov. Charlie Baker, R-Mass., said Tuesday that the state still has many open appointments. However, Nicholas Duncan, Director of Operations and Emergency Management at Tufts Medical Center noted that some locations may not be convenient for people wanting to receive vaccine shots. 

“We are hearing a lot of people say they were trying to find appointments closer to home or at a local CVS and they weren’t able to support that, the demand is obviously overwhelming many different local pharmacies and smaller mom and pop pharmacies as well,” Duncan told CBS Local.

As of Dec. 1, Massachusetts fully vaccinated 4,872,345 people and administered 1,144,982 booster doses.

Euitable access to vaccines is a key issue for many African countries starved of tools to fight the current pandemic Euitable access to vaccines is a key issue for many African countries starved of tools to fight the current pandemic Photo: AFP / Phill Magakoe