Massachusetts COVID-19 vaccinations for congregate care settings

Coronavirus Local Impact

BOSTON (Mass.gov) – Residential congregate care programs, emergency shelter programs including homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, and Veterans’ shelters, and approved private special education schools which offer residential services and are approved by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will begin to receive the vaccine the week of January 18.

Congregate care and shelter programs are within Phase 1, as outlined in the Massachusetts Vaccination Advisory Group principles for equitable COVID-19 vaccine administration. Please see here for general information and here for a vaccine provider FAQ. 

There are three vaccination options for staff and residents who do not plan to be vaccinated through the Federal Pharmacy Partnership program (FPPP) with CVS and Walgreens:

  1. Organizations that have the appropriate clinical capabilities may apply to directly receive and administer COVID-19 vaccines;
  2. Organizations may leverage existing pharmacy partnerships or a relationship with a medical provider; or
  3. Schedule an appointment at a provider location or a Mass Vaccination Site. A list of locations can be found here. Additional mass vaccination sites, provider sites and pharmacy sites will continue to launch in the coming weeks. 

CVS and/or Walgreens have reached out to organizations participating in the (FPP) program. Please contact your agency point of contact, contact information below, for support if you have any questions about your organization’s participation in the (FPP) program.

Correctional facilities staff will receive information on vaccines, including scheduling, from their employers.

Vaccine Deployment Option #1: Program “Self-Administration”

Organizations that have the capability to directly receive and administer COVID-19 vaccines can request vaccine from the Department of Public Health after meeting the following requirements. Self-administering organizations must plan to vaccinate more than 200 individuals. Programs may partner to reach the threshold.   

  1. Review the DPH Guide for Applying to Administer the COVID-19 Vaccine.
  2. Onboard to DPH’s Massachusetts Immunization Information System (MIIS) and enroll in the Massachusetts COVID-19 Vaccine Program (MCVP).
    1. If your site is not fully registered and on-boarded to submit vaccine-administered data to (MIIS) email miishelpdesk@mass.gov.
    2. If you did not receive the MCVP Enrollment Form email dph-vaccine-management@massmail.state.ma.us
  3. Identify a practitioner to write a Standing Order for Administering Vaccine.
  1. Adhere to screening, onsite protocols, consent, tracking and second dose guidance.
  2. Additional guidance can be found here

Option #2: Leverage Existing Pharmacy Partnerships or other Medical Provider Relationships

Programs may have existing pharmacy partnerships through regular flu vaccine clinics, and/or other existing relationships with local hospitals, community health centers, university health centers, or VNAs, and these partnerships may be leveraged to administer COVID-19 vaccines.  

Programs are encouraged to contact existing partners determine if they have the capacity to operate a vaccine clinic or mobile vaccine distribution. If you identify a clinical partner your agency contact can work with DPH to ensure your clinical partner is allocated vaccine

Option #3: Mass Vaccination Sites or Other Clinic Sites

In the next few weeks, the Commonwealth will launch Mass Vaccination sites and expects additional provider and pharmacy vaccination sites to launch. Vaccination sites will be posted here. Sites will require appropriate identification to establish you meet the congregate care prioritization criteria. Appropriate identification for both staff and residents using Mass Vaccination sites includes a letter from the organization and an employee identification card –or- state / federal issued identification. 

Organizations should provide staff and residents with a letter verifying that the individual meets Phase 1 Residential Congregate Care and Shelter eligibility guidelines as specified by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The eligibility letters should:

  • Be on organizational letterhead 
  • Identify the individual by name
  • Identify vaccine locations and direct the individual to additional information on the mass.gov/covid-19-vaccine-in-massachusetts website
  • Remind individuals to bring employee identification or state or federal issued identification to the site

Note: Additional, program-specific guidance will be given for situations requiring sensitivity to protect confidentiality and other unique program considerations.

DPH and EOHHS are exploring additional avenues for local vaccine clinics and mobile vaccine distribution and will work with providers needing assistance to find a solution for your site. Additional information and locations will be shared and posted here as it is available. Please contact your agency point of contact for support.  

Please contact your agency point of contact for support. The point of contact for each agency will be actively engaged with providers to ensure questions are answered and any issues are coordinated, elevated, and resolved. The points of contact will work actively with providers on the options currently outlined to ensure that the providers have implementation plans for each of their congregate care and shelter settings

Resources

Agency Points of Contact

Frequently Asked Questions

Download: Frequently Asked Questions about the Massachusetts COVID Vaccine Program (MCVP) for Residential Congregate Care and Shelter Programs

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