Health

Healey: Vaccines should be required for public employees

Healey: Vaccines should be required for public employees

BOSTON — Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, seen as a possible candidate for governor next year, is calling for mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for public employees, saying it is a matter of public safety.

“Look, you’re there, you’re getting paid by the taxpayer — you have an obligation, whether it’s delivering public health or public safety,” the Democrat said Tuesday during an appearance on Boston Public Radio. “You’re interacting with the public. That’s a part of your job, by definition.”

People have a right to refuse a vaccine or seek a health or religious exemption, but Healey suggested those abstaining may effectively forfeit the right to public-sector employment.

Responding to vaccine hesitancy among state police and corrections officers, Healey said in March that vaccines should be mandated for those employees.

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, who has yet to say whether he will seek a third term, has hesitated to mandate vaccines.

During her radio appearance Tuesday, Healey also urged the public to be wary of various vaccine-related scams, many of which are an attempt to steal personal information.

CASINO VACCINATIONS

Blackjack, poker, slots, and now, coronavirus vaccinations.

The Encore Boston Harbor casino has started offering COVID-19 vaccinations by appointment only to employees and the general public in conjunction with a local health care organization.

The vaccination site inside a ballroom that opened Tuesday is open from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays, according to a statement from the casino.

The casino is located in Everett, which is one of the state’s hardest hit communities.

“We want to help residents of Everett and our surrounding communities receive the vaccine as quickly and conveniently as possible,” casino President Brian Gullbrants said.

Appointments are available through the Cambridge Health Alliance until the site is listed on the Massachusetts vaccination finder website, https://vaxfinder.mass.gov/, which is expected to happen early next week.

SIX FLAGS REOPENING

The Six Flags New England amusement park announced Wednesday that it plans to reopen its rides next month with some coronavirus safety protocols in place.

The park in Agawam said in a statement that it will open for members and season pass holders on May 14, and to the general public the next day.

“Now more than ever families need an escape that is safe, accessible and fun,” park President Pete Carmichael said.

Visits must be reserved online so park management can manage attendance and stagger arrival times. Guests and employees will undergo health screenings, visitors will be required to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing, and the park will undergo enhanced cleaning.

The safety plan, developed in consultation with epidemiologists, meets or exceeds federal, state, and local guidelines for sanitization, hygiene, and social distancing protocols, management said.

The rides have been closed for more than a year, but the park has opened for other events.

Dominic Nwodo

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