I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources.
Today Representative Driscoll and I hosted an informational virtual briefing for House members and staff on the COVID-19 variants that have been emerging across Massachusetts. There will be a public informational hearing on this matter on Tuesday, April 13, 2021.
MA Vaccination Updates
Vaccine Eligibility Expands Today
As of today, Monday, April 5, 2021, individuals age 55 and older and individuals with one comorbidity will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Eligible conditions include:
Chronic kidney disease
Sickle cell disease
Type 1 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes
On Monday, April 19, 2021, the general public age 16 and older will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Preparing for your Vaccination Appointment
Learn about how you can prepare for your vaccination appointment here
Resources for Booking and Getting to Your Appointment
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.” This multilingual service is for residents who don’t have Internet access or have trouble using the Internet.
Need help? For detailed information about how to make an appointment, including updates about specific health care providers, see the Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services vaccine resources page. You can also visit macovidvaxhelp.com, which is an unofficial site staffed by volunteers for eligible individuals who are unable to book vaccine appointments on their own.
Need a ride?
Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES) is offering free transportation for local adults aged 60+ to COVID-19 vaccination sites in Cambridge and Somerville as well as Fenway Park and CHA Malden. For more information, click here. To register for a ride, call SCES at 617-628-2601 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
All MassHealth members or Health Safety Net patients can get free transportation to COVID-19 vaccine appointments. You can request transportation for a scheduled appointment by calling (800) 841-2900. You may find additional information on transportation help here.
The City of Cambridge has published accessibility information for the state’s mass vaccination sites. You can find it here.
Don’t forget to book your second appointment while you’re getting your first dose!
Massachusetts Is Testing a Digital COVID-19 Exposure App
The Commonwealth is now testing a new digital COVID-19 app to help with contact tracing. State public health officials began a pilot today with the cities of Somerville and Methuen. The application uses randomized Bluetooth data to alert individuals if they have been in close contact to someone who says they tested positive for COVID-19. The system relies on opting into “Turn on Exposure Notifications” on iPhones or on downloading the MassNotify app on Android devices. Read more here.
CDC States That Cruise Ships Don’t Have to Require Vaccinations When They Resume Sailing
The CDC announced guidance for cruise lines sharing that COVID-19 vaccinations will be recommended for passengers, yet it will not be required. The recommendations by the CDC include daily reporting of COVID-19 cases, implementing routine testing of the entire crew based on a ship’s COVID-19 status, and working with medical facilities on shore for passengers who may get sick during their trip. Read more here.
Walgreens Wasn’t Following CDC Guidance on Pfizer Vaccine Spacing
Walgreens has vaccinated many Americans against COVID-19 this year with the Pfizer vaccine. However, Walgreens has not been following guidance from federal health officials about the timing of second doses. People receiving the vaccine are supposed to get two doses, three weeks apart. Walgreens, however, has separated the doses by four weeks. There is no evidence that separating the doses by an extra week decreases the vaccine’s effectiveness. Read more here.
The City’s next Safe Street, Safe City Meeting will take place tomorrow, April 6, 2021 at 7:00 PM. It will update the public on the recent gun-related violence in our community, and it is a continuation of the City’s efforts to bring together area stakeholders to determine what steps must be taken to decrease opportunities for violence in our city. All members of the public are welcome to attend and the meeting will be recorded to allow for future viewings. Register here.
Youth Mental Health Mini-Grants Available
The Cambridge Public Health Department will award six $1,000 mini-grants to support projects promoting youth mental health and wellness in Cambridge. Applications are due Tuesday, April 20, 2021. For more information and to apply, go to bit.ly/3u3pEWX.
Virtual Candidate Forums for Interim Superintendent Finalists
The Cambridge School Committee is hosting Virtual Candidate Forums between 5:00 and 8:00 PM next Thursday, April 8, 2021 for the three finalists for the position of Interim Superintendent of Schools. Panels of students, family representatives, and educational staff will ask questions of the finalists. Members of the community can watch the forums live via Zoom. Read more here.
Council on Aging Homebound Vaccination Program
The homebound vaccination program is for people who would not otherwise be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine unless they receive it in their home. It does not include individuals who are temporarily homebound; and/or able to leave the home with adequate assistance; or those who would prefer to get a vaccine in their home. If you meet the definition for homebound, or know someone who does, please call the Cambridge Council on Aging (CoA) at 617-349-6220. Learn more here.
If you or a loved one are struggling, please know that you are not alone. Here are some great resources:
Where to Give
On Fridays, Cambridge CoHousing will be collecting food either in a paper bag or small box for the Chelsea Food Collaborative. Drop off is between 9 AM and 2:30 PM at the entrance to CoHousing at 175 Richdale Ave, Cambridge, MA. If you don’t see someone at the moment you arrive, please leave it just inside the gate where we will have boxes marked “For Chelsea.”