Massachusetts is continuing along steadily with its rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. The state is currently in Phase Two, having already opened vaccine eligibility to certain high-risk groups, including frontline workers and the elderly. However, starting February 18th, the state is opening vaccine eligibility to new groups. This exciting announcement means that a further almost one million state residents will now be eligible for the vaccine. The newly-eligible residents fall into two main categories:
Individuals Aged 65 and Over
The age threshold has been lowered again, making residents aged 65 and over eligible to receive the vaccine. In addition to this group, people who work in public and private low-income or affordable senior housing are also eligible to be vaccinated. To qualify as a public or private low-income or affordable senior housing, the residence must be “financed or subsidized in whole or in part by state or federal housing programs established primarily to furnish housing rather than housing and personal services”, as defined by the Massachusetts “COVID-19 Vaccinations for Senior Housing Settings” webpage. Because of this, senior housing operators can plan onsite or offsite vaccination clinics in certain cases and based on vaccine supply. For more information on senior housing eligibility and how to organize private vaccination clinics, click here.
Individuals with Two or More Medical Conditions
Certain medical conditions increase the risk for severe complications from COVID-19. Therefore, the state has expanded eligibility for vaccination to people aged 16 and over who have two or more of the following conditions:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Down Syndrome
- Heart conditions, including heart failure and coronary artery disease
- Moderate-to-severe Asthma
- Obesity and severe obesity, including those with a BMI of 30kg/m2 or higher
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Weakened immune systems from an organ transplant
If you have any questions, talk to your doctor to determine if you are eligible for vaccination under these medical definitions.
The Massachusetts government has created a helpful tool, the COVID-19 Vaccine Finder, which will help eligible residents find vaccination locations close to them, and will direct them to the site websites to schedule available appointments. Currently, there are over 170 vaccination sites, including mass vaccination sites like Gillette Stadium and Fenway Park. However, vaccine supply is still limited, and appointments are in high demand. Therefore, it may take up to one month for all eligible residents in these new groups to obtain an appointment. If you cannot secure an appointment immediately, keep checking the vaccination site websites, as appointments are added on a rolling basis. Make sure you are on legitimate websites that are approved by the State of Massachusetts, and beware of vaccination scams. If you are having trouble booking an appointment online or need assistance, Massachusetts residents should dial 211 and follow the prompts for vaccine appointments.
Until mass vaccination is widespread and accessible to all, we must remain vigilant and follow public health measures, including social distancing and mask wearing. This also includes getting tested for COVID-19 if you have reason to believe that you have been exposed or are infected. OccuMed of New England is a proud verified provider of COVID-19 testing and antibody testing. We offer testing in our Canton, MA location, as well as onsite testing for a variety of locations, including educational settings and workplaces. For more information, click here. We also offer Pickup/Dropoff Covid-19 Testing at our Canton, MA location.
If you have concerns about your workforce and coronavirus, please contact us today to learn about steps you can take to protect yourself, your family, and your employees. We offer the following COVID-19 safety service options:
COVID-19 Consulting Bundle: Written directive/policy on requirements which can be either a corporate policy or a site-specific policy.
COVID-19 Training (Infection Control Webinar): We offer Open Enrollment Classes and Private Company Sponsored Classes made available at your convenience.