I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources. I also want to recognize that today is One Boston Day, marking eight years since the Boston Marathon bombing. On this day, we honor those who were injured and killed, and celebrate the resilience of our Commonwealth.
Nationwide and Federal Updates
Top Health Officials Encourage Americans to Get Vaccinated
CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, and the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, testified on Capitol Hill today in front of a House Select Committee overseeing the government’s COVID response. These top federal health officials encouraged Americans to get vaccinated against COVID, but did not have a lot to say regarding the investigation into the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Read more here.
Vaccine Hesitancy in the US
FDA and CDC’s recommendation that states pause the usage of the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine could deter people who are already hesitant to receive the vaccine, shares public health experts. Dr. Fauci shared that the federal government is increasing efforts to educate individuals about the rare blood clot issue. Read more here.
Health Officials Remain Vigilant, Despite New COVID Tests Being Able to Detect Variants
The emergence of new variants has led to concerns regarding the accuracy of some existing COVID tests. The FDA has warned that new mutations in the coronavirus could make some COVID tests less effective. Learn more here.
MA Vaccination Updates
Vaccine Eligibility to Expand Monday
Next 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 email@example.com.
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!
As vaccines are continually being distributed, COVID testing remains a key tool to stop the spread across our community and the Commonwealth. Massachusetts is a national leader in testing and passed 20 million total tests administered yesterday. Read more on testing here.
MA Vaccine Pre-Registration System to Add 4 Regional Collaboratives This Week
An additional four regional vaccine collaboratives will be added to the Commonwealth’s pre-registration system this week. Residents will soon be able to pre-register for appointments at sites operated by regional collaboratives in Northborough, West Springfield, Palmer, and Northampton. Read more here.
DHSP Online Free Virtual Activities During April Vacation Week
DHSP Online will offer fun and free virtual activities during April Vacation week, April 20, 2021 through April 23, 2021, for Cambridge children in grades JK-8. Read more and sign up here.
May 7 Deadline for Small Business Grants
An additional $600,000 in grants for Cambridge small businesses is available through the City’s Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund and the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority. Grant applications accepted from April 14, 2021 until May 7, 2021. Read more 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 by Tuesday, April 20, 2021. For more information and to apply, go to bit.ly/3u3pEWX.
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.”