BOSTON (WWLP) – With Thanksgiving just two weeks away, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) is urging residents to get vaccinated.

For those preparing to celebrate with friends and loved ones, health experts are suggesting to get vaccinated for flu, COVID-19, and RSV, if eligible. “Getting vaccinated now will maximize protection against these respiratory viruses,” said Public Health Commissioner Robert Goldstein, MD, PhD. “We want Massachusetts residents to have a safe, healthy, and fun holiday season, and part of that is getting vaccinated to protect yourself and those around you.”

It is recommended by the DPH that those 6 months and older should get a seasonal flu vaccine and an updated COVID-19 vaccine. Both of these vaccines could take up to two weeks to take full effect to protect against infection, serious illness, and hospitalization, and reduce the chances of suffering the effects of long COVID. Health experts state that the updated COVID-19 vaccine is effective against current variants and widely available for little or no cost to all Massachusetts residents.

“Adding vaccinations to your holiday season to-do list is one of the best gifts you can give yourself and people you’ll gather with, especially older adults, people who are immunocompromised, and pregnant people, who are at higher risk for severe complications,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Catherine Brown. “While it’s never too late to get your COVID or flu shots, getting vaccinated sooner rather than later will provide increased protection ahead of holiday celebrations, the start of winter, and peak respiratory disease season.”

This year many will be eligible for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccination, including pregnant people, newborns, and many people 60 and older. According to DPH, COVID-19, flu, and RSV are the three viruses that are most likely to cause severe disease resulting in hospitalization and sometimes death.

Additionally, the DPH is working closely with communities of color and other populations and communities hardest hit by COVID-19 to improve access to vaccination. An initiative done through the Vaccine Equity Initiative.

DPH will be holding COVID-19 and flu clinics in many community locations and at upcoming cultural events. A listing of these community clinics that are accepting appointments and, in some locations, walk-ins can be found by clicking here

It is advised that if you are feeling unwell, you should stay home, get tested, and, if you test positive for flu or COVID-19, get treatment to prevent the spread of the illness. 

Local News

Kayleigh Thomas is a digital reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since 2022. Follow Kayleigh on X @kayleighcthomas and view her bio to see more of her work.