Massachusetts begins vaccinating within congregate-care, correctional facilities

Coronavirus Local Impact

(WWLP) – The next round of COVID-19 vaccinations in Massachusetts begins Monday with distribution to congregate care and correctional facilities.

Roughly 94,000 people living and working in 3,500 congregate care settings like group homes or shelters are eligible for vaccinations starting Monday.

State Representative Bud Williams said he’s happy to see distribution expanding but said more needs to be done speed up the vaccination process, “The rollout has been very slow. I think in the end, what they are going to end up doing is first come first serve. We have people who want to take it and others who don’t want to take it, so we need to do a better job.”

About 6,500 and 4,500 officers are expected to get their shots over the next three weeks. Inmates will receive their doses from WellPath, the Department of Corrections medical provider. Employees will be eligible at regional vaccine sites established by the state – similar to the rollout for first responders last week.

Non-correctional facilities have three options for vaccination. If the facility is capable and plans to vaccinate more than 200 people, they can then elect to “self administer” the vaccine to residents and staff. Those facilities will receive their doses directly from the Department of Public Health.

Programs that have existing relationships with pharmacies, hospitals, or other providers for things like annual flu shots can use those partnerships for vaccination.

Finally, residents and staff of congregate care sites are now eligible to get a shot at the state’s mass vaccination sites. The only current site opened on Monday at Gillette Stadium but more vaccination sites are expected to open in the coming weeks.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said he has an optimistic outlook on the coronavirus vaccinations. He believes President-Elect Joe Biden’s plan to vaccinate 100 million people in his first 100 days in office can be done.

“What the President-Elect is going to do is where it need be, to invoke the DPA to get the kinds of things we need, whatever they may be. Be they tests, be they vaccines or what have you. In other words, to just not be hesitant to use whatever mechanisms we can to get everything on track,” said Fauci.

Massachusetts is still in Phase 1 of its distribution process. Phase 2 is slated to begin next month. That’s when teacher’s and people ages 75 and over will begin receiving vaccinations.

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