COVID-19 vaccine plan in Massachusetts

Coronavirus Local Impact

Coronavirus Resources from the CDC

(WWLP/Mass.gov) – Massachusetts is currently in Phase 1 of the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution timeline.

  • On January 4, the MA vaccine distribution plan has been updated so that individuals age 75+ are included in Phase 2, Group 1, along with individuals of all ages with 2+ comorbidities.
  • Vaccinations for first responders will begin January 11. Details can be found at mass.gov/FirstResponderVaccine.
  • COVID-19 vaccinations continue for COVID-facing health care workers and residents and staff of long term care facilities through the Federal Pharmacy Partnership Program.

The Baker-Polito Administration and the Department of Public Health developed a vaccine distribution timeline after extensive consultation with the Massachusetts Vaccine Advisory Group, made up of leaders from health care, the faith community, community organizations, local government, and others. 

The timeline reflects several priorities: protecting our most vulnerable, maintaining health care system capacity, and addressing inequities in health care access and COVID-19 burden. 

Some communities like West Springfield have already started that process. 22 employees from the fire department received the first doses Tuesday.

“We have 77 members so it is a good portion for our department to start with. Over the next week most of the department will have it so it is good,” said West Springfield Fire Chief William Flaherty.

Vaccine distribution in MA will occur in a phased approach: 

Phase 1

(December 2020 – February 2021)

Listed in order of priority:

  • Clinical and non-clinical health care workers doing direct and COVID-facing care
    • Including: COVID-19 testers, staff of test sites, urgent care centers, other clinics, school nurses, and public health nurses performing COVID-19 testing; COVID-19 vaccinators and support staff for a COVID vaccination clinic including pharmacists, pharmacy interns, and pharmacy technicians, school nurses, and public health nurses supporting COVID-19 vaccination; Medical Reserve Corps who are called up to vaccinate or other COVID facing direct care work; COVID facing Hospice/palliative care professionals; COVID facing laboratorians; COVID facing imaging professions; emergent employees (manufacturing COVID vaccine)
  • Long term care facilities, rest homes and assisted living facilities
  • Emergency medical services, police, and fire
    • Including: all interfacility transport workers, MedFlight staff, college/university campus police, 911 Dispatch employees
  • Congregate care settings
    • Including: corrections and shelters
  • Home-based health care workers
    • Including: PT/OT/SLP therapists who work with medically complex home students
  • Health care workers doing non-COVID-facing care
    • Including: Dentists/dental students (unless routinely working with COVID-19 positive or suspected patients such as Oral Surgeons covering the ER, in which case should be considered COVID-facing); Medical students (unless routinely working with COVID-19 positive or suspected patients, in which case should be considered COVID-facing); Inpatient and outpatient physical therapists (unless routinely working with COVID-19 positive or suspect patients, in which case should be considered COVID-facing); Interpreters who work in hospitals (unless routinely working with COVID-19 positive or suspected patients, in which case should be considered COVID-facing); Behavioral health clinicians not already covered in congregate care or direct care; Non- COVID facing Laboratorians; Blood donation workers; Organ donation procurement worker; Hospice/palliative care professionals; Non-COVID facing Imaging Professionals; Dialysis center workers and patients; Audiologists and speech and language pathologists (unless routinely working with COVID-19 positive or suspected patients, in which case should be considered COVID-facing); Podiatrists (unless routinely working with COVID-19 positive or suspected patients, in which case should be considered COVID-facing)
  • Individuals who do not come into contact with patients (e.g., back office, remote work, administrative staff who do not come into contact with patients, laboratory researchers who do not come into contact with patients) are not prioritized in Phase 1 and should be prioritized in Phase 2 or Phase 3 depending on each individual’s age, comorbidity status, or other worker category.

Phase 1 vaccination settings:

  • Most health care workers will be vaccinated at their place of employment
  • First responders can visit mass.gov/FirstResponderVaccine for COVID-19 vaccine locations and more information
  • Individuals living and working in long term care will be vaccinated as part of the Federal Pharmacy Partnership Program
  • Vaccination for individuals in other congregate settings (e.g., group homes, shelters, corrections) will be coordinated by the management of those facilities
  • Many additional vaccination administration sites will be made available for other populations

Phase 2

(February-March 2021)

Listed in order of priority:

  • Individuals with 2+ co-morbid conditions and/or age 75+ (high risk for COVID-19 complications)
  • Other workers
    • Including: early education, K-12, transit, grocery, utility, food and agriculture, restaurant and cafe workers; employees across the food, beverages, agriculture, consumer goods, retail, and foodservice sectors; meatpackers; sanitation, public works and public health workers, vaccine development workers, food pantry workers, Uber/Lyft/ride share services/pharmacy delivery drivers (under transit/transportation workers), workers in the passenger ground transportation industry (e.g. paratransit for people with disabilities, food delivery, non-urgent medical transport; convenience store workers (under grocery workers); water and wastewater utility staff
  • Adults 65+
  • Individuals with one co-morbid condition

Phase 3

(Starting April 2021)

The vaccine is expected to be available to the general public.

  • Including: Higher education workers, including administrators, teaching and non-teaching staff; Bottled beverage industry workers; Veterinarians; Funeral directors and funeral workers

Phase 3 vaccination settings:

Once the vaccine is available to the general public, public vaccine clinics will be available on the CDC’s interactive website: vaccinefinder.org. You will also be able to check with your primary care provider, local pharmacy or local health department.

Beginning of November the average age of a hospitalized patient was about 61 who was hospitalized for COVID-19. The average in that population today is 73. I talked to people in the health care world and they said they watched that inner-generation transfer take place.

Governor Charlie Baker

Health experts are warning that the new coronavirus variant may already be in Massachusetts. The strain that has been confirmed in five states has several mutations that allow it to better attach to human cells, which makes transmission easier and faster. The symptoms of the new variant so far have been identical to those of the initial strain.

Experts say they believe that the newly approved COVID-19 vaccines offer effective protection against the variant.

Questions?

We are actively clarifying where each group resides on the state’s COVID-19 vaccination prioritization list.   Please submit any questions or concerns to COVID-19-Vaccine-Plan-MA@mass.gov and we will periodically update this page with more information.

  • Please note that any information, records, documents or other material submitted to the above email address may constitute public records pursuant to the Massachusetts Public Records Law, G.L. c. 66 §10.  This includes any personal information you may disclose to the Department including medical information. 

Timeframes are estimated.

This list will be updated Tuesdays and Thursdays by 5pm in response to questions submitted via COVID-19-Vaccine-Plan-MA@mass.gov.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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