Massachusetts expands vaccine access to all eligible Phase 1 residents

Coronavirus Local Impact

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CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The state has just expanded Phase 1 of the vaccine distribution process to include more people.

Phase 1 of vaccine distribution is well underway and the state has just expanded who is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine right now. Dentists, physical therapists, medical students, home health-care workers, and members of clergy who work with the sick are among those who can now sign up to receive their doses.

Everyone in Phase 1 can now sign up to receive their doses right now.

Phase 1 vaccination settings:

  • Individuals currently eligible for vaccination in Phase 1 can visit to view vaccine locations, including mass vaccination sites, sign-up and eligibility information. Sites will continue to be added with appointments released on a rolling basis.
  • First responders can visit 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
  • Staff and residents of congregate care settings, such as shelters and prisons, can visit COVID-19 Vaccinations for Congregate Care Settings.
  • Many additional vaccination sites will be made available for other populations

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)
    • Sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE)
    • Primary care providers
    • Skilled nursing facility rapid response teams
    • Visiting and contract nurses
  • 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
    • Federal law enforcement (including FBI, DEA, Coast Guard, federal court officers, U.S. Marshals Service, ATF, Federal Reserve Police, Homeland Security investigators)
    • Court officers
    • Harbormasters/Assistant Harbormasters
    • Massport police
    • ABCC Inspectors
  • Congregate care settings, including:
    • Corrections and shelters (residents/inmates, staff, and volunteers)
    • Patients and staff of SUD treatment programs (if program is residential)
    • Patients and staff of Section 35 treatment programs
    • Adults with autism, intellectual disabilities, and severe behavioral challenges in residential programs
  • Home-based health care workers
    • PT/OT/SLP therapists who work with medically complex home students
    • Personal Care Attendants (PCAs)
    • Home Health, hospice, and home care agency staff performing visits in the home
    • Independent Nurses and Continuous Skilled Nursing staff performing visits in the home
    • Aging Service agency staff performing regular visits in the home
    • State Agency staff performing direct care in the home, including DCF Emergency Response Workers, DMH case managers and DDS care coordinators
    • Mental and behavioral health providers providing in home treatment (e.g., ACCS integrated team, PACT, CBHI, ABA, ESP)
    • Adult Foster Care and Group Adult Foster Care workers performing work in the home
    • Independent Therapists (physical therapists, occupational therapists, Speech & Language therapists) performing work in the home
    • Home-Based Respite and Individual/Family Support staff (DDS and DDS Self Directed)
  • Health care workers doing non-COVID-facing care, including:
    • Dentists/dental students, and dental hygienists (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 and nursing 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 and pedorthists (unless routinely working with COVID-19 positive or suspected patients, in which case should be considered COVID-facing);
    • Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) staff;
    • SUD treatment program staff (if program is non-residential);
    • Asthma and allergy specialists;
    • Diagnostic sleep testing center staff;
    • Chiropractors
    • School nurses (other than those working as vaccinators/testers)
    • Members of the clergy (if working in patient-facing roles)
    • Acupuncturists
  • 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.

The state expects Phase 1 to last until sometime in February then Phase 2 will begin. Seniors who are 75 years old or older will be first in line during Phase 2 of distribution. It also includes teachers, and transit, grocery, and sanitation workers. Residents and staff of low-income and affordable senior housing are also part of Phase 2.

The next sub-group to get vaccinated in Phase 2 will be people older than 65 and those with one co-morbidity. Phase 2 is expected to go until April then Phase 3 can begin and the vaccine will be available to the general public.

Phase 2

(February-March 2021)

Listed in order of priority:

  • Individuals with 2+ comorbidities (high risk for COVID-19 complications), individuals age 75+, and residents and staff of public and private low income and affordable senior housing
  • 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 and volunteers;
    • Transit/transportation: Uber/Lyft/ride share services/pharmacy delivery drivers, workers in the passenger ground transportation industry (e.g. paratransit for people with Disabilities, food delivery, non-urgent medical transport), Massport workers other than police;
    • Convenience store workers (under grocery workers);
    • Water and wastewater utility staff
    • Court system workers (judges, prosecutors, defense attorney, clerks), other than court officers who are listed under first responders
    • Medical supply chain workers
    • Funeral directors and funeral workers
    • Shipping port and terminal workers
  • Adults 65+
  • Individuals with one co-morbid condition

Phase 2 vaccination settings:

  • Individuals will get vaccinated either by their employer, primary care physician, pharmacy or public clinic.
  • Treating clinicians/health systems, health insurers (including MassHealth), and patient advocacy groups will reach out to individuals with co-morbidities to encourage them to receive COVID-19 vaccination. Individuals in the various worker groups will likely be reached via their employers and unions.
  • The Department of Public Health does not maintain a central sign-up or scheduling system for the vaccine.

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

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: You will also be able to check with your primary care provider, local pharmacy or local health department. The Department of Public Health does not maintain a central sign-up or scheduling system for the vaccine.

Find a location to get vaccinated if eligible

Governor Baker said he’s hoping that as more vaccines get approved he’ll be able to increase the number of sites available and move onto the next phase of the vaccination process.

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

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