I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources.
Last week, the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery heard An Act to create a thriving public health response for adolescents, a bill I filed to comprehensively address the mounting children’s behavioral health crisis through changes to school-based mental health, workforce development, insurance coverage, and more. You can read about the bill here. I am deeply grateful to CPSD’s Alice Cohen for helping me craft this bill and testifying along with me.
Additionally, the committee heard An Act to identify and eliminate racial and sexual orientation and gender identity disparities in mental health, which would require the state to examine and report on the prevalence of behavioral health and substance use disorders and suicide among disparate populations in Massachusetts. I filed this bill because we need to identify racial and gender disparities in our behavioral health system in order to eliminate them - learn more here.
4.1 million in Massachusetts Fully Vaccinated
Today, the state reached the Governor’s administration’s goal of fully vaccinating 4.1 million people against COVID-19. Those who still have not been vaccinated can find a vaccination location near them here: http://mass.gov/COVIDVaccine.
Green Line Extension to Medford Delayed
Passenger service on the Green Line extension to Medford will be delayed by five months due to schedule pressure inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The six-stop branch will run between East Cambridge and Medford starting in May 2022. The one stop extension to Union Square is expected to open in December 2021. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3wQyadJ.
Nationwide and Federal Updates
U.S. will not meet July 4th Vaccine Goal
Today, President Biden announced that the U.S. will narrowly miss its goal of having 70% of all U.S. adults receive at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot by the 4th of July. It is expected that 70% of adults aged 27 and older will have received one shot by July 4th, and the administration is focusing on vaccinating younger Americans ages 18-26. Learn more: https://nbcnews.to/3zXFXIX.
AAP Recommends That Kids Keep Wearing Masks
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) website healthychildren.org has a page addressing the question, “Does my unvaccinated child still have to wear a mask when the rest of the family doesn't?” The response is that children and adolescents who are not fully vaccinated for COVID-19 should continue to wear masks when social distancing isn't possible. Vaccinated adults and older children should consider modeling mask-wearing behavior in support. See the whole discussion at https://bit.ly/2RHpwyZ.
Cambridge Public Schools Nutrition Meal Kits
Cambridge Public Schools Food & Nutrition Services will be offering their last set of meal kits on Thursday, June 24th from 9-10:30AM. Meal kits include at least two days worth of breakfast and lunch meals and can be picked up at any of the following locations:
- Fletcher Maynard
- King Open
- Fresh Pond Apartments
- Kennedy Longfellow
Registration Opens Friday for Guaranteed Income Lottery; Info Session Thursday
On Friday, June 25, 2021, Cambridge RISE will open applications for its guaranteed income lottery. This is the first step in launching a pilot giving $500 recurring payments to single caretaker families in Cambridge. There is a virtual info session on Thursday, June 24, 2021 at 5:30 PM. Register at https://bit.ly/3zU6B5o.
MA Vaccination Updates
Pop-Up Vaccine Clinic at Boston Children’s Museum
The Boston Children’s Museum is hosting a pop-up vaccine clinic on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM for people aged 12 and up. Both the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be available. Second Pfizer doses will be administered at the museum on Tuesday, July 20, 2021 from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Registrations are encouraged at https://www.cic-health.com/childrensmuseum, but walk-ins will be welcome.
Market Basket Vaccine Clinics
There will be COVID-19 vaccine clinics set up in the parking lots of Market Basket stores in Chelsea, Fall River, Lawrence, Lynn and Revere on Thursday, Friday and Saturday this week. No appointment is necessary. Anyone who gets a shot at one of these clinics will also receive a $25 Market Basket gift card. See the full clinic schedule here: CIC-health.com/marketbasket.
CHA Offering Walk-In Vaccinations
The Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) is offering walk-in vaccinations at its three sites (176 Somerville Ave. in Somerville, Encore Boston Harbor in Everett and Tufts University in Medford, see https://bit.ly/3eM3TGF for locations and hours). These sites are open to all Massachusetts residents age 12 and older. They encourage people to pre-register here or via MyCHArt (for CHA patients), but walk-ins are welcome. As a reminder, only the Pfizer vaccine is currently approved for use in people under 18 years old, and minors must have a consent form signed by their parent or guardian.
Walk-In Vaccinations Available at Mass Vax Sites & CVS
Massachusetts residents age 12 and over can now get COVID-19 vaccines at all seven mass vaccination sites. People can still make appointments or see walk-in information at vaxfinder.mass.gov. Walk-in appointments are also available at the 389 vaccine-carrying CVS locations across the Commonwealth. Read more here.
Closing Dates for Mass Vaccination Sites
The Baker-Polito Administration has announced its timeline for ramping down mass vaccination sites. The upcoming planned closing dates at each site are:
- Natick Mall: June 23
- Reggie Lewis Center: June 27
- Doubletree in Danvers: June 30
- Eastfield Mall in Springfield: July 6
- Former Circuit City in Dartmouth: July 13
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 at 6 PM. Information as of Thursday, June 17, 2021:
Residents who have received at least 1 dose: 79,701
Fully Vaccinated Residents: 71,401
Daily COVID-19 Vaccination Report
The Department of Public Health publishes a Daily COVID-19 Vaccine Report in addition to its Weekly COVID-19 Vaccination Report. Information as of Tuesday, June 22, 2021:
Total doses administered: 8,472,462
Total cumulative doses shipped to MA: 9,512,350
Vaccination Appointment Resources
Preparing for your Vaccination Appointment
Learn about how you can prepare for your vaccination appointment here.
Resources for Booking and Getting to Your Appointment
- Online: Find an appointment or see walk-in availability at vaxfinder.mass.gov/. You can also book directly with a pharmacy at cvs.com or walgreens.com or visit macovidvaccines.com, which is not an official site but is more user-friendly than the state site.
- 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.
- 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 currently in Phase Three of the vaccine rollout. Everyone age 12 and older is eligible for a vaccine. For more details and updates on vaccination priorities, please visit mass.gov/CovidVaccine.
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.
Governor Baker Press Conference Updates
Governor Baker did not hold a press conference today. Many of the Governor’s recent updates are available at mass.gov/governor-updates.
Today’s Case Count
Total Cases: 663,332
New Cases: 33
Total Deaths: 17,613
Total Cases: 6,055
New Cases: 0
Total Deaths: 123
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.
For Harvard University COVID-19 information, click here. For MIT COVID-19 information, click here.
June Schedule for Cambridge COVID Testing & Vaccination Sites
Each site will offer both COVID-19 testing and COVID-19 vaccinations simultaneously for the month of June, while supplies last. These sites will only be using the Johnson & Johnson single dose vaccine, so you will not need to return for a second shot:
- 2254 Massachusetts Ave, St. John the Evangelist Church, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM.
- CambridgeSide in East Cambridge, 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM. (Drive-through testing by motor vehicle in the garage. Enter on First St. For safety reasons, this site cannot accommodate anyone arriving by bicycle or on foot).
- 85 Bishop Allen Drive, Christian Life Center (owned and operated by St. Paul’s AME), 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM.
- CambridgeSide in East Cambridge, 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM. (Drive-through testing by motor vehicle in the garage. Enter on First St. For Safety Reasons, this site cannot accommodate anyone arriving by bicycle or on foot).
No identification or Social Security number is required. All sites are wheelchair accessible.
Learn more at https://www.cambridgema.gov/covid19/Testing
Mental Health Services and Resources
If you or a loved one are struggling, please know that you are not alone. Here are some great resources:
Helpline for People Who Abuse
There is a new Helpline for People Who Abuse that launched on April 15, 2021, that came out of CARES ACT funding for COVID-19. The Helpline is currently open to any resident of western Massachusetts, however they plan to expand to more residents within the Commonwealth. This helpline is the first in the nation of its kind, and is based out of Western Massachusetts. You can find more information here.
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 Avenue, 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."
Transition House in Need of Emergency Donations:
If you are able to give to others during this time, I encourage you to look to additional places that are working to help those most affected by COVID-19:
- Mayor's Disaster Relief Fund
- Cambridge Health Alliance
- Cambridge Community Center
- Cambridge Community Foundation
- Food for Free
- Chelsea Food Collaborative
- Greater Boston Food Bank
- Hospitality Workers COVID-19 Emergency Fund
- Cradles to Crayons Emergency Essentials Fund
- Mount Auburn Hospital
- The One Chelsea Fund
- Daily Table
I also encourage you to donate to the following organizations that are engaging in racial justice work:
- Louis D. Brown Peace Institute
- Families for Justice as Healing
- Prisoners' Legal Services
- Boston NAACP
- Massachusetts Bail Fund
- ACLU of Massachusetts
- Union of Minority Neighborhoods
As always, do not hesitate to reach out to me with questions or concerns at Marjorie.Decker@mahouse.gov.