I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources.
Weekly Update for Doses Allocated from the Federal Government
This week, the Commonwealth received 444,930 first and second doses as part of the state allocation. These numbers include a one-time shipment of 108,800 J&J vaccines. Health care providers account for the largest allocation, followed by regional collaboratives, then mass vaccination sites. Learn more here.
Expansion of Pre-Registration System
Today the Baker-Polito Administration expanded the pre-registration to include some regional collaboratives and improved features to allow for vaccination location selection during appointment booking. Read more here.
Nationwide and Federal Updates
Talking About Vaccines
It’s normal to have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. Here are conversation tips provided by the CDC.
COVID-19 Funeral Assistance
The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that individuals who paid for the funeral and burial expenses of someone who died as a result of COVID will be offered expanded federal financial support starting on Monday, April 12, 2021. Read more here.
CDC Announces Most US Infections Are Now Caused by a Contagious New Virus Variant
The Director of the CDC, Dr. Rachelle Walensky, stated today during a White House briefing that a highly infectious variant of COVID-19, that was first identified in Britain, has now become the most common source of new infections across the United States. Officials and scientists are warning the public of a possible fourth virus wave. Read more here.
The Joint Committee on Public Health (which I co-Chair) and the Joint Committee on COVID-19 and Emergency Preparedness and Management are holding a public informational hearing on COVID-19 variants next Tuesday, April 13, 2021 from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM that will be livestreamed on malegislature.gov.
MA Vaccination Updates
Vaccine Eligibility Expanded
As of Monday, April 5, 2021, individuals age 55 and older as well as individuals with one comorbidity are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Eligible conditions include: asthma, cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, Down Syndrome, heart conditions, immunocompromised state, obesity, pregnancy, sickle cell disease, smoking, type 2 diabetes, HIV, type 1 diabetes, and hypertension. 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 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!
Virtual Candidate Forums for Interim Superintendent Finalists Tomorrow
The Cambridge School Committee is hosting Virtual Candidate Forums between 5:00 and 8:00 PM tomorrow, 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.
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.
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.
Today Governor Baker toured the vaccine clinic at the Oceanside Events Center right off the Wonderland MBTA Blue Line stop. There, he highlighted the ongoing $30 million Vaccine Equity Initiative. They are using several strategies to support the 20 most disproportionately-impacted communities, such as: through on the ground canvassing efforts, allocating vaccine doses directly to each community, giving grants to local organizations doing vaccine outreach, and providing vaccination resources. Learn more about the COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Initiative 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.”