Coronavirus

What to know about the COVID-19 vaccination effort in Mass. this week

A weekly roundup of vaccination information you need to know.

Lowell, MA., 04132021, The Moderna coronavirus COVID-19 vaccine is given at the Cross River Center by Lowell General Hospital the day the the FDA pauses the use of the J &J vaccine. Globe staff/Suzanne Kreiter Suzanne Kreiter / The Boston Globe

The effort to vaccinate Massachusetts residents presses on for another week, hitting the milestone of 2 million residents becoming fully vaccinated just before the state opened eligibility for all individuals 16 years old and older to get the jab. 

Officials have continued to provide frequent updates on the state’s progress, as the spread of coronavirus variants grows and the supply of the vaccines has fluctuated. Below, what you should know about the vaccination campaign and its impacts in Massachusetts this week.

Vaccine eligibility opens Monday to all Massachusetts adults. Here’s how to best position yourself for an appointment.

Massachusetts moved into its final phase of vaccine eligibility on Monday, allowing all residents over the age of 16 — regardless of their occupation or health status — to book an appointment. The state began emailing some residents on Sunday, allowing them to begin booking appointments for Monday. 

The new phase of the vaccine rollout will see an additional 1.7 million residents become eligible for booking vaccine appointments across the state. State officials have warned that it may take several weeks for newly eligible individuals to get an appointment, either at one of the state’s seven mass vaccination sites or at one of the hundreds of smaller clinics across Massachusetts. 

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Already, it’s been clear that when appointments do open up, they tend to get snapped up quickly.

  • Here are some tips for landing a slot as quickly as possible. 

Officials are reserving nearly half of all vaccine appointments at the Hynes Convention Center this week for hard-hit communities

Officials are setting aside nearly half of all appointments at the state’s largest mass vaccination site this week for residents of communities hardest hit by the pandemic. Starting Monday, April 19, the state will offer up to 20,000 first-dose appointments at the Hynes Convention Center vaccination site for those who live in the 20 communities prioritized by the state’s vaccine equity initiative. The initiative — being dubbed “Red Sox Week” — is part of the Baker administration’s efforts to address lagging vaccination rates among communities of color —particularly Latinos — which have disproportionately shouldered the brunt of the pandemic’s human and economic toll. 

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Any appointments that are not filled through the Red Sox Week outreach efforts will be booked through the state’s vaccine preregistration system. Residents who have their second doses scheduled this week at Hynes will still have their appointments honored.

Administration of J&J vaccine halted in Massachusetts, following federal recommendation

Last week, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health directed all vaccination sites in the state to immediately stop administering doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, responding to a new recommendation from federal agencies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration advised states last week to “pause” administration of the single-dose vaccine while the federal agencies investigate reports of severe, rare blood clots. The officials are investigating the unusual and potentially dangerous clots that occurred in six women aged 18 to 48, between six and 13 days after they were vaccinated. One person died.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday he’d be surprised if the nation doesn’t resume the administration of the J&J vaccine in some form by the end of this week, perhaps with some restrictions or some additional warning.

“A decision almost certainly will be made by Friday,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the NIH and top adviser to President Joe Biden told CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “I don’t really anticipate that they’re going to want it stretch it out a bit longer.”

Charlie Baker downplays impact of Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause

So far, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is downplaying the disruption caused by the “pause” of the J&J vaccine as “minimal,” pointing to the relatively small number of doses the state was set to get in the first place. According to the governor, Massachusetts received 11,600 doses of the J&J vaccine last week — roughly 3 percent of its overall state allocation — along with 340,000 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. 

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“The vast majority of the doses we administer are Pfizer and Moderna doses, and I’ve always thought of the J&J as sort of the accelerant to where we already are,” he said. 

Baker announced Saturday that more than 2 million residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The state of the vaccination rollout in Massachusetts

The number of people who have been fully vaccinated (as of Sunday):  2,037,794

According to The New York Times vaccine rollout tracker, Massachusetts continues to rank in the top half of states based on the percentage of residents who are fully vaccinated (29 percent). The Bay State is also in the top 10 based on the percentage of the state population who have received at least one dose of the two-shot vaccines (48 percent). See how Massachusetts compares to other states and U.S. territories here.

General COVID-19 vaccination information to know

Here’s who is currently eligible for booking appointments:

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Phase 1

Listed in order of priority:

Phase 2

Listed in order of priority:

Phase 3

  • General public over the age of 16 (eligible 4/19/2021)

Here’s how to make an appointment:

To pre-register for an appointment at one of the state’s mass vaccination sites and certain regional collaboratives, visit: mass.gov/covid-19-vaccine

Once you sign up for preregistration, you will receive weekly status updates from the state. When an appointment becomes available, you will be contacted and have 24 hours to accept and book an appointment. If the appointment isn’t selected within 24 hours, you will be added back onto the state’s waiting list.

Search for and book a vaccination slot at one of the other public vaccination sites through the state’s VaxFinder: https://vaxfinder.mass.gov/

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Or visit: mass.gov/covidvaccine

Those who are 75 or older can connect with a state vaccine hotline operator by dialing 2-1-1 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (press 2 for the call center).

A map and list of COVID-19 vaccination sites in Massachusetts:

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