BOSTON — The Baker-Polito administration announced the timeline for all remaining residents to be eligible for a vaccine. The administration also announced the weekly distribution of vaccine doses statewide for providers and a new $24.7 million investment in the administration’s Vaccine Equity Initiative.
On March 22, all residents age 60 and older, and certain workers, will be eligible. On April 5, residents age 55 and up, and residents with one among a list of certain medical conditions, will be eligible. On April 19, vaccines will be available to the general public age 16 and older.
The Commonwealth’s timeline adheres to the original timeline for the three phases announced in December. All residents can pre-register to book an appointment at a mass-vaccination site at mass.gov/covidvaccine.
Appointments will be offered based on eligibility and available appointments nearby. It is expected that more sites will come online as part of the preregistration process in April.
The administration has received assurances from the federal government that an increased vaccine supply will be available to states soon. Depending on supply, it could take weeks for people to be notified that an appointment is available at a mass-vaccination site.
This week, the state is receiving a modest increase in supply of first doses, approximately 170,000. This includes an unexpected 8,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine. In total, the Commonwealth will receive 316,000 first and second doses as part of the state allocation. These figures do not include doses provided to CVS Health sites through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program or to federally qualified health centers.
The administration also announced the release of $27.4 million in federal funds to increase trust, vaccine acceptance, and administration rates as part of its Vaccine Equity Initiative and to meet the needs of priority populations. Recognizing equity as a critical component of the state’s vaccine-distribution plan, the Department of Public Health (DPH) is working closely with 20 of the hardest-hit communities in Massachusetts as they identify their specific community needs, further building on existing support.
These federal funds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) build upon current and past efforts supporting vaccination in these communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and includes partnerships with municipalities, local boards of health, community- and faith-based organizations, community health centers, and others to reduce barriers to vaccination. These funds also will provide direct vaccine administration to populations that are not effectively reached through existing vaccine supply channels.
The Vaccine Equity Initiative focuses on 20 cities and towns with the greatest COVID-19 case burden, taking into account social determinants of health and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) populations. These communities are Boston, Brockton, Chelsea, Everett, Fall River, Fitchburg, Framingham, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Methuen, New Bedford, Randolph, Revere, Springfield, and Worcester.