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Baker-Polito Administration Announces Vaccine Appointment Booking for Individuals Ages 65+, Individuals with 2+ Certain Medical Conditions to Begin on February 18th

BOSTON – February 17, 2021 – Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced individuals ages 65 and over and those with 2+ certain medical conditions, including Asthma, can visit www.mass.gov/covidvaccine to start booking an appointment for vaccine beginning tomorrow, February 18th.

With this announcement, almost 1 million individuals are newly eligible for vaccine.

Due to extremely high demand for appointments and limited vaccine supply, it could take more than a month for all eligible individuals to secure an available appointment, unless federal supply significantly increases. Recently, Massachusetts has been receiving approximately 110,000 first doses per week from the federal government. Residents are encouraged to keep checking the website as appointments are added on a rolling basis.

Individuals 65 and over:
Individuals 65 and over, including residents and staff of low income and affordable public and private senior housing are eligible to receive vaccine effective tomorrow, February 18th.

Residents and staff of low income and affordable public and private senior housing can learn more about vaccination options here.

Individuals with 2+ Certain Medical Conditions:

Individuals 16 and older with two or more of certain medical conditions (defined below) are eligible for vaccine, effective tomorrow.

In concert with CDC guidelines, the Commonwealth has adopted the list of conditions that cause individuals to be at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Massachusetts has also identified moderate to severe asthma as an eligible medical condition.

Phase 2 eligible conditions:

Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
Cancer
Chronic kidney disease
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
Down Syndrome
Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
Obesity and severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher)
Pregnancy
Sickle cell disease
Smoking
Type 2 diabetes mellitus

Learn more from CDC: COVID-19: People with Certain Medical Conditions

Mass Vaccination Appointments:

Tomorrow morning, over 70,000 appointments are scheduled to be posted at mass vaccination sites (Eastfield Mall in Springfield, Double Tree Hotel in Danvers, Fenway Park in Boston and Gillette Stadium in Foxboro).

Details for booking can be found via the COVID-19 Vaccine Finder, which enables residents to search for a vaccination location and view appointment availability before scheduling. The tool can be accessed via the state’s vaccination website at www.mass.gov/COVIDvaccine or directly at https://vaxfinder.mass.gov.

Individuals that are unable to access appointments via the internet can call 211 and follow the prompts for vaccine appointments.

There are currently over 170 vaccination locations across the Commonwealth. Currently, almost 95% of our population lives within a 45-minute drive of a mass vaccination site or within 30 minutes of a regional (high volume site) – not counting the pharmacies, provider and community health center vaccination sites.

Local Boards of Health:
Today, Local Boards of Health were informed of the Commonwealth’s streamlined vaccination distribution plan that prioritizes equity and high-capacity throughput vaccination, particularly as vaccine supply from the federal government remains extremely constrained.

This streamlined distribution plan will increase vaccine access at high throughput vaccination locations such as mass vaccination sites or regional sites and at pharmacy sites. In addition to increasing efficiency in administering the vaccine, the Commonwealth will ensure that the program is equitable and meets the needs of communities that have been the most disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Utilizing the social vulnerability index as a starting point, the Department of Public Health has identified 20 municipalities that have had the greatest COVID burden and have the greatest per centage of non- white residents. These municipalities are: Boston; Brockton; Chelsea; Everett; Fall River; Fitchburg; Framingham; Haverhill; Holyoke; Lawrence; Leominster; Lowell; Lynn; Malden; Methuen; New Bedford; Randolph; Revere; Springfield; and Worcester.

These municipalities will continue to distribute vaccine at the local level, are prioritized for the retail pharmacy program, and are served by community health centers and other health care providers administering vaccine.

Local Boards of Health will continue to play a crucial role in our collective plan to curb COVID-19. The Administration is asking Local Boards of Health to support these critical objectives:

Planning to vaccinate homebound individuals in their community and older adults in private and public low income and affordable housing.

Encourage residents to get vaccinated at mass vaccination sites, retail pharmacies and other locations that are open to all residents.

Increase vaccine awareness of safety and efficacy so that when the Commonwealth does have more incoming vaccine from the Federal Government, and as more groups become eligible, communities are ready and willing to accept vaccine.

 

CONTACT
Sarah Finlaw
sarah.finlaw@state.ma.us

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