I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources as well as recent legislative news.
Racial Inequities in Maternal Health Commission Meeting & Listening Session Monday
The Commission on Racial Inequities in Maternal Health, which I co-chair in my role as House Chair of Public Health, is holding a public meeting and listening session focused on Metro West/Central Massachusetts on Monday, October 25. The meeting will begin at 5 PM and the listening session at 6 PM. We are especially interested in testimony from people of color, including maternal health practitioners, birthing people, birthing partners, mothers, fathers, and other family members affected by maternal mortality or severe maternal morbidity. This will be used to inform a report and policy and budget recommendations. The deadline to sign up to testify has been extended to Monday at 12 PM. Please take 5 minutes to visit bit.ly/rimh1025, sign up/submit testimony, and spread the word.
Oversight Hearing on Kids and COVID-19 Yesterday
The Joint Committees on Public Health, COVID-19 and Emergency Preparedness and Management, and Education held a joint oversight hearing yesterday, which was a follow-up to the oversight hearing we held in July. We heard from members of the Baker administration as well as experts, invited by the Committee Chairs, about the anticipated rollout of vaccines for the new age group, lessons learned from school-based clinic operations and testing in school settings, and projected plans and protocols as related to the new eligibility status for children aged 5 to 11. Video of the joint oversight hearing is available at https://malegislature.gov/Events/Hearings/Detail/4052.
Table of Contents
- COVID-19 Testing Information
- State Updates
- National Updates
- Cambridge Updates
- MA Vaccination Updates
- Today’s Case Count
- Legislative Updates
- Recent Press
- Mental Health Services and Resources
- Where to Give
COVID-19 Testing Information
Cambridge COVID-19 Testing
- Monday: 4:00 – 8:00 PM at the CambridgeSide mall
- Wednesday: 2:00 – 6:00 PM at 2254 Massachusetts Ave, St. John the Evangelist Church
- Thursday: 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM at the CambridgeSide mall
- Sunday: 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM at 50 Church Street
As of Monday, October 4, 2021, the COVID-19 testing location at CambridgeSide mall has transitioned back to a drive-through only testing site. Those arriving on foot or by bicycle will not be allowed. Learn more at https://www.cambridgema.gov/covid19/testing.
State COVID-19 Testing
To find a COVID-19 testing site in Massachusetts, visit https://www.mass.gov/info-details/find-a-covid-19-test.
Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 booster shots available
Today the Governor’s administration announced how eligible Massachusetts residents can access Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 booster shots. Both Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 booster shots are now available to:
- Individuals 65 years and older
- Individuals 18+ who live in long-term care settings
- Individuals 18+ who have underlying medical conditions
- Individuals 18+ who work or live in high-risk settings
Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 booster shots are now available to:
- All individuals 18 and older who received a single dose of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at least 2 months ago.
State encourages health centers to preorder pediatric COVID vaccines ahead of their approval
The state deadline for pediatricians and all other health care providers who care for children to preorder the pediatric COVID vaccine is today. The state is encouraging pre-orders in anticipation of the Pfizer vaccine likely becoming available to kids ages 5-11 in the coming weeks. Learn more: https://wbur.fm/3E1cJK4.
FDA authorizes Moderna and J&J Boosters, Allows for Mix-and-Match
On October 20, 2021, the FDA took action to expand the use of a booster dose in eligible populations.
- A Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine booster may be administered to individuals- 65 years of age and older, 18 through 64 years of age at high risk of severe COVID-19, 18 through 64 years of age with frequent institutional or occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2
- A booster dose of Johnson & Johnson may be administered at least 2 months after completion of the single-dose primary regimen to individuals 18 years of age and older.
- The use of each of the available COVID-19 vaccines as a “mix and match” booster dose in eligible individuals following completion of primary vaccination with a different available COVID-19 vaccine.
- A single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine may be administered at least 6 months after completion of the primary series to individuals 18 through 64 years of age with frequent institutional or occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2.
City of Cambridge tips for staying safe on Halloween
The Cambridge Public Health Department has put together a list of safe ways to celebrate Halloween this year, and is discouraging indoor parties with people who do not live in your household. You can find the list here: https://bit.ly/3lLDxIi.
Where to Get a Pfizer COVID-19 Booster Shot
COVID-19 boosters are available at the following locations in/near Cambridge for eligible MA residents who got the Pfizer vaccine:
- Cambridge Health Alliance (Walk-ins or appointments)
- CVS (Appointments required)
- 624 Mass. Ave (Central Square)
- Schedule here: https://bit.ly/3mgBACv.
- Star Market (Walk-ins or appointments)
- 699 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge
- Schedule here: https://bit.ly/3uujXTv.
- Search by zip-code for other locations https://vaxfinder.mass.gov/
Flu Clinics (plus COVID Vaccines) Tonight & Tomorrow
Residents are encouraged to register two weeks ahead of time. Walk-ins are also welcome. No charge, but bring your insurance card. CPHD will also be offering free Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines at the clinics. This will include first and second doses of the vaccine as well as booster shots. Learn more at cambridgepublichealth.org/flu.
- Friday, October 22, 2021
- Reservoir Church, 170 Rindge Ave
- 2:00 PM to 8:00 PM
- Saturday, October 23, 2021
- Pisani Center, 131 Washington St
- 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Cambridge Food Resource Guide
An updated guide of food pantries, free meal programs & more in Cambridge is now available. Learn more: bit.ly/cambfoodguide
Cambridge Community Learning Center Celebrates 50 Years
The Cambridge Community Learning Center (CLC) celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The CLC offers a variety of free classes and programs that empower adult learners to transform their lives and realize their potential through education, skills development, and community participation. Read more: https://bit.ly/3jpPodg
Virtual Domestic Violence Summit 10/28
The City of Cambridge Domestic and Gender-Based Violence Prevention Initiative and Transition House are holding a virtual summit, “Beyond Survivors and Abusers: Reframing Domestic Violence” on Thursday October 28, from 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and Friday October 29 from 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Read more: https://bit.ly/3vBozYy
MA Vaccination Updates
Mobile Vaccination Services
You can find hours and dates for mobile vaccination clinics at t.ly/qTMc.
CHA Offering Walk-In Vaccinations
These sites are open to all Massachusetts residents age 12 and older:
- 176 Somerville Ave
- Cambridge Hospital
- East Cambridge Care Center
- Malden Care Center
CHA is also offering “pop-up” vaccination clinics – information on hours and locations here: https://www.challiance.org/patients-visitors/covid-19-vaccine.
Walk-In Vaccinations Available at CVS
Massachusetts residents age 12 and over can now get walk-in appointments at the 389 vaccine-carrying CVS locations across the Commonwealth.
Cambridge Vaccination Data
The City of Cambridge has added Cambridge Vaccination Data to its COVID-19 Data Center. Data will be updated weekly on Thursdays. Information as of Thursday, October 21, 2021:
Residents who have received at least 1 dose: 85,889
Fully Vaccinated Residents: 77,721
Daily COVID-19 Vaccination Report
Total doses administered: 9,922,729
Total cumulative doses shipped to MA: 11,511,750
Vaccination Appointment Resources
Resources for Booking and Getting to Your Appointment
- Online: Visit vaxfinder.mass.gov/. You can also book directly with a pharmacy at cvs.com or walgreens.com.
- Phone: Call 2-1-1 between 8:30 AM-8:00 PM Monday-Thursday or 8:30 AM-5:00 PM Friday-Sunday and select the prompt for “help scheduling a vaccine appointment.”
- In-Home Vaccinations: Anyone who is unable to get to a vaccine location can call the Homebound Vaccination Central Intake Line at 833-983-0485 between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM Monday-Friday.
Booster Shot Eligibility
COVID-19 boosters are available for eligible MA residents who got the Pfizer vaccine. See if you’re eligible to receive one on the graphic below, and learn more here: https://bit.ly/3mkHVg6.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has a Frequently Asked Questions site that is continually updated as they receive new questions. You may access the FAQs here. Questions can be submitted to COVID-19-Vaccine-Plan-MA@mass.gov.
Today’s Case Count
Total Cases: 786,143
New Cases: 1,343
Total Deaths: 18,520
New Tests: 106,526
Total Cases: 7,660
New Cases: 35
Total Deaths: 125
The state has created an interactive dashboard, including the percentage of COVID-19 positive cases and testing rates by city and town. The dashboard can be viewed here.
Bills I have filed that are being heard next week
Two of my bills are scheduled for public hearings next week: An Act relative to the retirement benefits of certain employees of the department of mental health and An Act requiring the relocation of the Cambridge District Court. The hearing schedule is available at malegislature.gov, where hearings will be livestreamed and available for viewing after they conclude.
Missing the chicken dinner circuit
By Jon Chesto, Globe Staff
“MAMH honored Governor Charlie Baker, Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, Senate President Karen Spilka, and House Speaker Ron Mariano for their public service during the pandemic. Senator Julian Cyr and Representative Marjorie Decker were praised for their mental health advocacy at the State House.” For more information, visit t.ly/2nqQ.
Mental Health Services and Resources
If you or a loved one are struggling, please know that you are not alone. There are some great resources here: decker4rep.com/2021/mental-health-services-and-resources/.
Intimate Partner Abuse Prevention Helpline For MA residents
Thanks to COVID-19 relief funds from the CARES ACT, Massachusetts now has a Helpline that people can call for help rather than harming their partner. Open to any resident, the helpline is the first in the nation of its kind. This initiative is designed to prevent intimate partner violence by fostering accountability and change in people who harm or may harm their intimate partner. You can find more information at 10to10helpline.org or by calling 877-898-3411.
Where to Give
Cambridge Cohousing Food Collection for Chelsea next Friday 10/29
9 am to 4:30 pm at 175 Richdale Ave entrance to Cohousing in boxes marked “FOR CHELSEA”
What they are accepting:
- GIFT CARDS: (especially TJ Maxx, Target, Kohl’s)
- FOOD: Rice, 2-3 lb bags, beans (dried and canned), tomatoes (canned), dry pasta, tomato sauce, soups, peanut butter, tuna, unsweetened cereals, baby food (unsweetened). *Food donations must be in original packaging, unopened. Please no fresh food, flour, condiments or sweets.
If you are able to give to others during this time, I encourage you to look to places that are working to help those most affected by COVID-19: decker4rep.com/2021/places-that-are-working-to-help-those-most-affected-by-covid-19/.
I also encourage you to donate to the following organizations that are engaging in racial justice work: decker4rep.com/2021/organizations-that-are-engaging-in-racial-justice-work/.
As always, do not hesitate to reach out to me with questions or concerns at Marjorie.Decker@mahouse.gov.