I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources as well as recent legislative news. I hope that you saw my earlier email about the legislation passed by the House on reproductive and gender-affirming health care and step therapy.
Table of Contents
- State Updates
- National Updates
- Cambridge Updates
- COVID-19 Testing Information
- MA Vaccination Updates
- Vaccination Appointment Resources
- Today’s Case Count
- Infant Formula Shortage Updates
- Legislative Updates
- Recent Press
- Mental Health Services and Resources
- Where to Give
State investing additional $7 million in COVID-19 vaccine equity efforts
As part of the Massachusetts Vaccine Equity Initiative, the state has awarded an additional $7 million in grants to support organizations working in communities hardest hit by COVID-19. $5.9 million has been awarded to 72 community- and faith-based organizations, including five Tribal and Indigenous People-serving organizations, in partnership with Health Resources in Action (HRiA). HRiA will also engage in a new partnership with Health Care for All (HCFA), which received close to $1 million of the new funding to conduct tailored community outreach in communities most impacted by COVID-19. This amount includes $415,000 to fund seven additional community- and faith-based organizations. Learn more: http://ow.ly/HWV950JKIR4.
U.S. buys 105 million Pfizer COVID vaccine doses for fall campaign
The Biden Administration has agreed to purchase another 105 million doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in anticipation of a fall booster campaign. The $3.2 billion purchase agreement includes the option to purchase a total of 300 million doses, including a mix of doses for both adults and children. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3I931st.
The U.S. will offer nearly 300,000 doses of monkeypox vaccine in the coming weeks
The Department of Health and Human Services will make 296,000 doses available in the coming weeks within that amount, 56,000 doses will be made available immediately — and expects a total of 1.6 million doses to be available in the U.S. by the end of the year. The vaccine being distributed is the JYNNEOS vaccine, which is administered in two doses given 28 days apart. Learn more: https://wbur.fm/3OQBeiG
Where to Get a COVID-19 Booster Shot
This is a list of a few places that we are familiar with that are offering COVID-19 boosters in/near Cambridge for eligible MA residents:
- CVS (Appointments required)
- 624 Mass. Ave (Central Square)
- Schedule here: bit.ly/3mgBACv.
- Star Market (Walk-ins or appointments)
- 699 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge
- Schedule here: bit.ly/3uujXTv.
- Search by zip-code for other locations https://vaxfinder.mass.gov/
Cambridge Summer Food Program to Provide Free Meals to Cambridge Youth
Beginning Tuesday, July 5, the Cambridge Summer Food Program will provide free breakfast, lunch and dinner meals every weekday to Cambridge children and youth ages 18 and under. The Summer Food Program, operated by the City of Cambridge Department of Human Service Programs (DHSP), aims to increase food security for Cambridge families by providing free, nutritious meals to children. Breakfast and lunch meals will be available at outdoor locations throughout the city, and Cambridge youth can join DHSP's Recreation staff for fun activities in nearby parks while meals are served. Free dinner meals will be provided at the city’s Summer Basketball League locations. Cambridge youth and children do not need to participate in the leagues to receive a dinner meal. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3I3fD4i
The City of Cambridge 9th Cycle of Participatory Budgeting
The City of Cambridge has launched the 9th cycle of Participatory Budgeting (PB) and is seeking ideas from the community on how to spend $1 million on projects to improve Cambridge. The Idea Collection phase will be open from June 1 – July 31, 2022. Winning projects from past PB cycles have included youth center upgrades, home essentials for newly housed residents, solar panels for the Main Library, laundry access in public schools, and many more. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3QM6Acc
COVID-19 Testing Information
City of Cambridge appointment-only COVID-19 Test Site closed Sunday and Monday
The City's appointment only COVID-19 test site at 295 Third Street, Cambridge, operated by CIC Health, will be open until 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 2 and will be closed on both Sunday, July 3 and Monday, July 4. For more information on testing and locations. Learn more: www.cambridgema.gov/testing.
Cambridge Appointment-Only Testing
Appointment-only testing, provided through a partnership with CIC Health, is available 7 days per week to people who live or work in Cambridge. Testing at CIC Health’s 295 Third Street location is available during the following hours:
- Monday - Friday, from 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
- Saturday & Sunday, from 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Appointments can be booked online at www.cic-health.com/cambridge or assistance is available from CIC’s Customer Service Team at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 877-280-2937.
Cambridge Walk-In Testing Pausing After July 6
Due to declining numbers at the City’s walk-in testing sites on Wednesdays and Saturdays and the success of the testing partnership with CIC Health, the City will be pausing its walk-in testing program after July 6. The final day of testing at the Christian Life Center (85 Bishop Allen Drive) was Saturday, June 25. The final day of walk-in testing will be Wednesday, July 6 from 2PM - 6PM at St. John’s (2254 Massachusetts Ave). Signage and handouts will be available at these sites to inform the public of this change. For more information please visit: www.cambridgema.gov/testing
State COVID-19 Testing
To find a COVID-19 testing site in Massachusetts, visit mass.gov/GetTested.
Home PCR Tests for Adults
Lab-based PCR testing with home collection is available at no cost to all eligible Massachusetts adults. Kits are reserved for adults (18+) who live or work in a congregate setting, are experiencing symptoms, have recently been in contact with someone with COVID-19, or who have otherwise been recommended for testing. Please visit the Pixel by LabCorp for Massachusetts webpage at t.ly/vL4j for details, and to request a test kit.
MA Vaccination Updates
Vaccination Locations for Children
Children ages 6 months to 4 years old are now eligible to receive the safe, effective, and free COVID-19 vaccine. You will not be required to provide an ID or insurance to vaccinate your child. Parents with the youngest kids in this age group should first contact their family doctor for a vaccine appointment.
- Pharmacies: CVS and Walgreens locations
- CVS (ages 18 months and up at MinuteClinics) - https://bit.ly/3xVwH7B
- Walgreens (ages 3 and up) - https://bit.ly/3OxEHTm
- Mass General Brigham (for patients): Schedule an appointment through vaccines.gov or vaxfinder.mass.gov, or text your zip code to 438829; or call 1-800-232-0233. Vaccines are available through primary care appointments.
- Boston Children's Hospital (for patients): Schedule an appointment through the hospital’s MyChildren’s Patient Portal or call 617-919-7102.
- Atrius Health (for patients): Parents can schedule an appointment directly through MyHealth Online or call their child’s doctor’s office.
- Pediatricians’ Offices: Call your child’s doctor or nurse to determine vaccine availability.
- To see all Massachusetts vaccine locations and make appointments, go to vaxfinder.mass.gov or VaxAbilities.com for children with sensory and/or other accommodation needs.
Mobile Vaccination Services
You can find hours and dates for mobile vaccination clinics at t.ly/qTMc.
CHA Offering Walk-In Vaccinations
These sites are open to all Massachusetts residents age 12 and older:
- Cambridge Hospital
- East Cambridge Care Center
- Malden Care Center
CHA is also offering "pop-up" vaccination clinics - information on hours and locations here: https://www.challiance.org/patients-visitors/covid-19-vaccine.
Cambridge Vaccination Data
The City of Cambridge has added Cambridge Vaccination Data to its COVID-19 Data Center. Data will be updated weekly. Information as of Thursday, June 30th, 2022:
Residents who have received at least 1 dose: 105,235
Fully Vaccinated Residents: 86,328
Residents with Booster: 56,144
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 Friday, July 1st, 2022:
Total doses administered: 15,026,860
Total booster doses administered: 3,121,228
Vaccination Appointment Resources
Resources for Booking and Getting to Your Appointment
- Online: Visit vaxfinder.mass.gov/. You can also book directly with a pharmacy at cvs.com or walgreens.com.
- 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. Boosters are also available.
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.
Today’s Case Count
Please note that these are only the reported cases. The actual case counts are underreported due to people using rapid tests at home.
New Cases: 1,678
Total Deaths: 19,717
New PCR Tests: 29,923
Total Cases: 30,357
New Cases: 53
Total Deaths: 166
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.
Infant Formula Shortage Updates:
FDA Infant Formula Update
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that Bellamy’s Organic, an Australian company, will provide 696,000 cans of formula in July and over the next several months. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is evaluating options for getting the product to the U.S. as quickly as possible.
Learn more: https://bit.ly/3AhdHDF
HHS website with Information for Families on the Formula Shortage
For information on measures being taken by the federal government to address the formula shortage and resources on locating baby formula, visit: HHS.gov/formula. You can connect with community resources as well as recommendations from physicians & clinicians.
House passes legislation to reform step therapy protocols and ensure access to reproductive and gender-affirming health care
I hope that you read my email earlier this week about An Act relative to step therapy and patient safety and An Act expanding protections for reproductive rights. If not, you can find it here: https://bit.ly/3y1LRII. In addition, the House of Representatives approved the bills below during formal session on Wednesday.
House passes H.4931, An Act relative to pesticides
This bill seeks to monitor and reduce the use of Second Generation Anticoagulant Rodenticides (SGARs) in Massachusetts to protect our wildlife and pets.
- This bill:
- Expands the requirement of integrated pest management strategies to public institutions of higher education
- Digitizes pesticide use forms for better data collection and monitoring
- SGARs are particularly toxic, and are affecting other animals beyond rodents
- Pets and other non-targeted wildlife populations, like owls, are exposed to the poison and often suffer the same fatal outcome as their meal
- The EPA has restricted use of SGARs, though they are still available to pest control companies and consumers
House passes H.4932, An Act making appropriations for fiscal year 2022 to provide for supplementing certain existing appropriations and for certain other activities and projects
- This bill will direct $56 million from the General Fund to the payment for the legal settlement for the class action suit regarding the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home.
Sponsor of Mass. ‘red flag’ law: ‘There’s nothing theoretical about the lives saved’
Letter to the Editor, Marjorie Decker, Boston Globe
Jeff Jacoby’s column regarding “red flag” laws, or extreme risk protection orders, was littered with speculation (“ ‘Red flag’ laws raise some red flags,” Ideas, June 19). As one of the lead sponsors of Massachusetts’ very own red-flag law, I’d like to respond.
Jacoby bemoans the capacity for civil rights violations that is supposedly inherent in these bills. He argues that the laws lack due process protections and can be used in a sweeping fashion to seize legal firearms from, essentially, any socially awkward young man. He goes on to compare them to Japanese internment camps during World War II, a reckless leap that could not be further from the truth. Read more: https://bit.ly/3bM3Uvb.
Mass. House Passes Sweeping Reproductive Rights Bill
By Colin A. Young and Chris Lisinski, State House News Service
Cambridge Democrat Rep. Marjorie Decker said the topic was "hard to talk about."
"Let's be very clear: the Supreme Court's decision is rooted in misogyny," Decker said. "The motivation behind that is about ensuring that women and those who need access to reproductive health care no longer have control over their bodies."
"I am 50 years old and I'm standing up here having to defend a right that I have had my entire life," she added. Read more: https://bit.ly/3AoU4tr.
House votes to restrict insurers’ power over prescriptions
By Colin A. Young, State House News Service
Rep. Marjorie Decker of Cambridge said the issue of step therapy was brought to her attention by a constituent who wanted her to meet a single mother who could not get the medication her doctor called for because of her insurance company.
“Every day, someone is made to suffer when they’re not listened to, when their doctor is not listened to. And in talking to her, it really hit me to think about what it meant for this single mom to unnecessarily suffer because the insurance industry would not listen to her or her doctor,” Decker said. “It’s outrageous.” Read more: https://bit.ly/3AdIocO.
Mental Health Services and Resources
If you or a loved one are struggling, please know that you are not alone. There are some great resources here: decker4rep.com/2021/mental-health-services-and-resources/.
Intimate Partner Abuse Prevention Helpline For MA residents
Thanks to COVID-19 relief funds from the CARES ACT, Massachusetts has a helpline that people can call for help rather than harming their partner. Open to any resident, the helpline is the first in the nation of its kind. This initiative is designed to prevent intimate partner violence by fostering accountability and change in people who harm or may harm their intimate partner. You can find more information at 10to10helpline.org or by calling 877-898-3411.
Where to Give
If you are able to give to others during this time, I encourage you to look to places that are working to help those most affected by COVID-19: decker4rep.com/2021/places-that-are-working-to-help-those-most-affected-by-covid-19/.
I also encourage you to donate to the following organizations that are engaging in racial justice work: decker4rep.com/2021/organizations-that-are-engaging-in-racial-justice-work/.
As always, do not hesitate to reach out to me with questions or concerns at Marjorie.Decker@mahouse.gov.