I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources.
Baker and Other Governors Discuss Vaccination Strategies with Biden
Governor Charlie Baker joined the governors of five other states in a virtual conversation on COVID-19 vaccination strategies with President Joe Biden today. Governor Baker highlighted that walk-in appointments are now available at all seven mass vaccination sites and that Massachusetts has a Vaccine Equity Initiative targeting vulnerable communities. The Governor acknowledged that there is still a lot of work to be done. Read more here.
Gillette Stadium Open for Walk-In Vaccinations
State officials confirmed that the mass vaccination site at Gillette Stadium is accepting walk-ins, meaning that all seven mass vaccination sites in the Commonwealth are now offering vaccines without appointments. Gillette is one of four mass vaccination sites slated to close by the end of June as the state shifts doses to local providers. Read more here.
Waiting on Federal Guidance for Vaccinating Kids 12-15
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) needs to approve the use of Pfizer vaccines for children ages 12 to 15 before Massachusetts will begin administering the shots, the Baker administration confirmed. The FDA authorized the use of Pfizer vaccines for 12- to 15-year-olds yesterday. Vaccinations for that age group could begin as early as Thursday and kids can pre-register at vaccinesignup.mass.gov. Read more here.
Broadband Subsidies for Qualified Residents Begin May 12
As of May 12, 2021, eligible households will be able to enroll in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program in order to receive a monthly discount of up to $50 off the cost of broadband service from an approved provider. The program is run by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Learn more and apply at https://getemergencybroadband.org/.
Free Rides to Vaccination Sites May 24 – July 4
The White House announced today that between May 24, 2021 and July 4, 2021, people getting vaccinated against COVID-19 can get free rides to and from their appointments from the ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft. The initiative is part of President Biden’s push to have 70% of all adults in the US get at least one vaccine dose by Independence Day. Read more here.
CPL’s Final “Voices for Justice” Event Tonight
The Cambridge Public Library is hosting Pulitzer-prize winning author and journalist Isabel Wilkerson in conversation with Callie Crossley tonight, May 11, 2021 from 7:30 to 8:30 PM. This is the third and final event in the Cambridge Public Library Foundation’s Voices for Justice series. Register here for a Zoom link.
Applications Open for Summer Jobs Program
The Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program (MSYEP) is a six-week summer jobs program for Cambridge residents, starting at age 14 (teens must be 14 by July 6, 2021) through the summer after teens complete high school. MSYEP will run from July 6 through August 13, 2021. Apply to MSYEP online at this link by May 14, 2021.
CPL Hosting “Standing Up Together” Anti-Racism & Social Justice Series
The Cambridge Public Library is hosting a series of virtual events from May 17-21, 2021 for young people and their families to combat racism and promote social justice. The program, called “Standing Up Together,” features stories, workshops, and music. Learn more and register here.
Fuel Assistance Program Accepting Applications Until Friday, May 28
Beginning in July 2021, the utility payment moratorium will end. If you need assistance paying your heating bills, the Fuel Assistance Program is accepting applications through Friday, May 28, 2021. Read more here.
COVID-19 Housing Stabilization Program
The COVID-19 Housing Stabilization Program provides short term financial assistance to individuals and families in Cambridge who are experiencing housing instability. New applicants are encouraged to apply. Learn 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.
Translation Resources Available
Multilingual city resources and information on COVID-19 are available on the City’s multilingual help page.
MA Vaccination Updates
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). These sites are open to all Massachusetts residents. They encourage people to pre-register here or via MyCHArt (for CHA patients), but walk-ins are welcome. Read more here.
Walk-In Vaccinations Available at Mass Vax Sites & CVS
Massachusetts residents 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.
Vaccine Eligibility Open to All Adults
All Massachusetts residents aged 16 and older are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Currently, people under the age of 18 can only receive the Pfizer vaccine and there are certain steps these individuals should take prior to scheduling their appointment. Learn more here.
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: Pre-register for mass vaccination sites at vaccinesignup.mass.gov. All state vaccination sites are online at vaxfinder.mass.gov/, or you can book directly with a pharmacy at cvs.com or walgreens.com. You can also 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.” 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!
Cambridge Vaccination Data
Residents who have received at least 1 dose: 65,530
Fully Vaccinated Residents: 35,987
Daily COVID-19 Vaccination Report
Total doses administered: 6,849,573
Total cumulative doses shipped to MA: 8,172,240
Massachusetts is currently in Phase Three of the vaccine rollout. 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 did not hold a press conference today. He did meet virtually with President Biden (see State Updates) from the Worcester Red Sox Opening Day. You can watch the Governor’s latest updates here.
Today’s Case Count
Total Cases: 654,108
New Cases: 472
Total Deaths: 17,344
Tests Today: 41,692
Total Cases: 6,188
New Cases: 2
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.
Cambridge COVID Testing Sites
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
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.