Friday, October 21 COVID Updates & Step Therapy Bill Passes the House

 Dear all,

I write to you today with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources as well as recent legislative news. 


Table of Contents

  • State Updates
  • National Updates
  • Cambridge Updates
  • COVID-19 Testing Information
  • MA Vaccination Updates
  • DPH Resources on COVID-19 and Monkeypox
  • This Week’s Case Count
  • Legislative Updates
  • Mental Health Services and Resources
  • Where to Give


State Updates:

Booster Alert for MA

According to Department of Public Health data, 2.2 million eligible people in Massachusetts still have not gotten their first COVID-19 booster. The new bivalent booster provides protection against Omicron subvariants, which currently make up 100% of COVID-19 cases in the US. You can find booster appointments at by selecting “Booster Dose.” 


National Updates:

Omicron boosters for kids 5-11 are cleared by the CDC and FDA

Following US Food and Drug Administration approval, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has authorized updated COVID-19 boosters for children as young as 5. These bivalent boosters offer protection against both the original coronavirus strain and the dominant BA.4 and BA.5 omicron versions. The Pfizer vaccine will be available for 5- to 11-year-olds, and the Moderna will be available for children as young as 6 years old. Learn more:


Cambridge Updates

Flu and COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics:

The Cambridge Public Health Department is hosting free flu and COVID-19 vaccine clinics for the Cambridge community. Seasonal flu vaccines and COVID-19 vaccines, including the bivalent booster, will be available. On 11/16, they are partnering with VaxAbilities. This event will have extra staff on hand to provide skilled support to people with disabilities and/or sensory support needs. Learn more:


COVID-19 Testing Information

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, or assistance is available from CIC’s Customer Service Team at or by calling 877-280-2937. 

State COVID-19 Testing

Please visit

Home PCR Tests for Adults 

Please visit for details and to request a test kit.


MA Vaccination Updates

Vaccines and Boosters for Children

As a reminder, everyone ages 6 months or older is eligible to be vaccinated and everyone ages 5 years or older is eligible to be boosted. Children who have received a two-dose primary series of any vaccine and those who have received boosters are eligible to get the updated bivalent booster as long as two months have passed since their last dose. 

  • Pediatricians’ Offices: Call your child’s doctor or nurse to determine vaccine availability.
  • To see all Massachusetts vaccine locations and make appointments, go to or for children with sensory and/or other accommodation needs.

Cambridge Vaccination Data

Residents who have received at least 1 dose: 110,638

Fully Vaccinated Residents: 89,460

Residents with 1 Booster: 59,771

Residents with 2 Boosters: 20,593

Weekly DPH COVID-19 Vaccination Report

Total doses administered: 16,215,809

Total first booster doses administered: 3,306,489 

Total second booster doses administered: 1,023,603


DPH Resources on COVID-19 and Monkeypox


Monkeypox information: 


This Week’s COVID-19 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. 


Total Cases: 1,902,403

New Cases: 7,408

Total Deaths: 20,459

New PCR Tests: 115,032


Total Cases: 33,428

New Cases: 27

Total Deaths: 169

State interactive data dashboard:

Harvard COVID dashboard:


Legislative Updates

House Approves Step Therapy Bill

Yesterday, the Massachusetts House of Representatives unanimously passed An Act relative to step therapy and patient safety, a bill that I filed along with Representative Jeffrey Roy. Thank you to Speaker Mariano, Chair Michlewitz, and Chair Lawn for their work advancing this important patient protection legislation. I look forward to the Senate approving it so that we can send it to Governor Baker’s desk. 

This bill gives patients the power to advocate for their health care with the support of their health care providers. This is especially important since no one knows the ins and outs of needed treatment like a patient & their team. This legislation is the result of ongoing dialogue, discussions with stakeholders, and compromises. I am grateful to the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network in Massachusetts for their continual advocacy to ensure that patients across the Commonwealth can access the care they need. 


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:

Intimate Partner Abuse Prevention Helpline

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 or by calling 877-898-3411.


Where to Give

Domestic Violence Awareness Month Toiletries and Gift Card Drive

To benefit survivors of domestic violence at Transition House & YWCA Cambridge, the YWCA is collecting full size toiletry items that are diverse in hair/skin types as well as gift cards to Target, Amazon, or Visa/MC. Donations can be dropped off Monday through Thursday, 10AM-4PM, at:

  • YWCA Cambridge, 7 Temple St., 2nd Floor (through Monday, October 24

Thanks to everyone who has generously contributed to many organizations serving vulnerable people locally, nationally, and globally. If you are able to donate, please visit for places serving those most affected by COVID-19 and for organizations that are engaging in racial justice work.

As always, do not hesitate to reach out to me with questions or concerns at



Copyright 2018 Authorized and Paid for by The Friends of Marjorie Decker © All Rights Reserved