Massachusetts Expands Access to Vaccines to All Eligible Phase 1 Residents
CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The state just expanded Phase 1 of the vaccine distribution process to include more people.
Phase 1 of vaccine distribution is well advanced and the state has just expanded the number of people eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine now. Dentists, physiotherapists, medical students, home health workers and clergy who work with the sick are among those who can now sign up to receive their doses.
Everyone in phase 1 can now register to receive their doses now.
Phase 1 vaccination parameters:
- People currently eligible for phase 1 vaccination can visit mass.gov/CovidVaccineMap to view vaccine locations, including mass immunization sites, enrollment and eligibility information. Sites will continue to be added with posted appointments on an ongoing basis.
- First responders can visit mass.gov/FirstResponderVaccine for COVID-19 vaccine locations and more information.
- People living and working in a long-term care facility will be vaccinated as part of the Federal Pharmacy Partnership Program
- Staff and residents of collective care facilities, such as shelters and prisons, can visit COVID-19 vaccinations for collective care facilities.
- Many supplementary vaccination sites will be made available for other populations
Phase 1 (December 2020 – February 2021)
Ranked in order of priority:
- Clinical and non-clinical health workers providing direct care and coping with COVID, comprising:
- COVID-19 testers, staff at test sites, emergency care centers, other clinics, school nurses and public health nurses performing COVID-19 tests;
- COVID-19 vaccinators and support staff for a COVID-19 vaccination clinic, including pharmacists, pharmacy interns and pharmacy technicians, school nurses and public health nurses supporting COVID-19 vaccination;
- Medical Reserve Corps that is called upon to vaccinate or other COVIDs facing direct care work;
- COVID facing professionals in palliative care / hospices;
- COVID facing laboratories;
- COVID facing the imaging professions;
- Emerging employees (manufacture of the COVID vaccine)
- Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE)
- Primary care providers
- Qualified nursing facility rapid response teams
- Visiting and contract nurses
- Long-term care establishments, rest homes and assisted living facilities
- Emergency medical services, police and firefighters, comprising:
- All inter-facility transportation workers, MedFlight personnel, college / university campus police, 911 dispatch employees
- Federal Law Enforcement (including FBI, DEA, Coast Guard, Federal Justice Officers, US Marshals Service, ATF, Federal Reserve Police, Homeland Security Investigators)
- Judicial officers
- Harbor Masters / Assistant Harbor Masters
- Public transport police
- ABCC inspectors
- Collective care settings, comprising:
- Corrections and shelters (residents / inmates, staff and volunteers)
- SUD treatment program patients and staff (if the program is residential)
- Patients and staff in Section 35 treatment programs
- Adults with Autism, Developmental Disabilities and Serious Behavior Problems in Residential Programs
- Home health workers
- PT / OT / SLP therapists who work with medically complex home students
- Personal Care Attendants (PCA)
- Home care, hospice and home care agency staff making home visits
- Independent nurses and continuing qualified nurses making home visits
- Elderly Service Agency staff making regular home visits
- State agency staff performing direct home care, including DCF emergency response workers, DMH case managers, and DDS care coordinators
- Mental and behavioral health providers offering home treatment (eg, integrated team ACCS, PACT, CBHI, ABA, ESP)
- Adult foster care workers and group adult foster care workers doing homework
- Independent therapists (physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists) doing homework
- Home respite and individual / family support staff (DDS and self-directed DDS)
- Healthcare workers providing non-COVID care, comprising:
- Dentists / dental students and dental hygienists (unless regularly working with COVID-19 positive or suspected patients, such as oral surgeons covering emergencies, in which case should be considered COVID-19 );
- Medical and nursing students (unless they regularly work with patients who are positive or suspected of COVID-19, in which case should be considered to be facing COVID-19);
- Inpatient and outpatient physiotherapists (unless working regularly with patients positive or suspected of COVID-19, in which case should be considered as having COVID-19);
- Interpreters who work in hospitals (unless they regularly work with patients who are positive or suspected of COVID-19, in which case they should be considered to be confronted with COVID-19);
- Behavioral health clinicians who are not already covered by group or direct care;
- Laboratories not confronted with COVID;
- Blood donation workers;
- Organ donation procurement employee;
- Palliative care professionals / hospices;
- Imaging professionals not confronted with COVID;
- Workers and patients of dialysis centers;
- Audiologists and speech-language pathologists (unless they regularly work with patients who are positive or suspected of COVID-19, in which case should be considered to be facing COVID-19);
- Podiatrists and pediatricians (unless working regularly with COVID-19 positive or suspected patients, in which case should be considered COVID-facing);
- All Inclusive Care Program for the Elderly (PACE) staff;
- SUD treatment program staff (if the program is non-residential);
- Asthma and allergy specialists;
- Staff of the diagnostic sleep test center;
- School nurses (other than those working as vaccinators / testers)
- Members of the clergy (if they work in patient contact roles)
- People who do not come into contact with patients (ex: back office, teleworking, administrative staff who do not come into contact with patients, laboratory researchers who do not come into contact with patients) do not have priority in phase 1 and should be prioritized in phase 2 or phase 3 depending on the age, comorbid state or other category of worker of each individual.
The state expects Phase 1 to last until February, and then Phase 2 will begin. Seniors aged 75 or over will be on the front line during phase 2 of the distribution. It also includes teachers and workers in public transport, grocery stores and sanitation. Low-income and affordable seniors housing residents and staff are also part of Phase 2.
The next subgroup to get vaccinated in phase 2 will be people over 65 and those with comorbidities. Phase 2 is expected to last until April, then phase 3 can begin and the vaccine will be available to the general public.
Ranked in order of priority:
- Individuals with 2+ comorbidities (high risk of complications from COVID-19), people aged 75 and over, and residents and staff of low-income and affordable public and private senior housing
- Other workers, comprising:
- Workers in preschool, kindergarten to grade 12, transit, grocery, utilities, food and agriculture, restaurants and cafes;
- Employees in the food, beverage, agriculture, consumer goods, retail and restaurant industries;
- Meat conditioners;
- Sanitation, public works and public health workers;
- Vaccine development agents;
- Pantry employees and volunteers;
- Transit / Transportation: Uber / Lyft / Carpool Services / Pharmacy Delivery Drivers, Ground Passenger Transportation Industry Workers (e.g., Paratransit for People with Disabilities, Food Delivery, Non-Emergency Medical Transportation), Workers de Massport other than the police;
- Convenience store employees (under grocers);
- Water and sanitation service workers
- Employees of the justice system (judges, prosecutors, defense lawyers, court clerks), other than court officials listed under first responders
- Medical supply chain workers
- Funeral directors and funeral workers
- Port and shipping terminal workers
- Adults 65+
- Individuals with a comorbid state
Phase 2 vaccination parameters:
- Individuals will be vaccinated either by their employer, primary care physician, pharmacy, or public clinic.
- Attending clinicians / health systems, health insurers (including MassHealth) and patient advocacy groups will contact people with co-morbidities to encourage them to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Individuals from various groups of workers are likely to be reached through their employers and unions.
- The Ministry of Public Health does not maintain a central registration or planning system for the vaccine.
(From April 2021)
The vaccine should be available for the general public, comprising:
- Higher education workers, including administrators, teaching and non-teaching staff;
- Workers in the bottled beverage industry;
Phase 3 vaccination parameters:
Once the vaccine is available to the general public, public immunization clinics will be available on the CDC’s interactive website: Vaccinfinder.org. You can also check with your primary care provider, local pharmacy, or local health department. The Ministry of Public Health does not maintain a central registration or planning system for the vaccine.
Governor Baker said he hoped that as more vaccines were approved he would be able to increase the number of available sites and move on to the next phase of the vaccination process.