I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources as well as recent legislative news.
I also want to recognize and thank my Legislative Director Sarah Nordberg since today was her last day in my office. Sarah has been working on these newsletters since we began sending them out, in addition to her many other responsibilities. We will miss her and we wish her the very best.
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
- Mental Health Services and Resources
- Where to Give
Pandemic Learning Loss May Cost Massachusetts Students Billions In Future Earnings
A new study found reading and math scores dropping, with lowest results amid Black and Hispanic students and in lower income towns and cities in Massachusetts. On average during the coronavirus pandemic, Massachusetts students lost 75% of a school year’s worth of math learning and 41% of a year of reading, with Boston Public Schools students losing 85% of a year of math. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3G5RMSO
MA Offering Gift Cards at Family-Friendly Vaccine Clinics
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is offering a $75 gift card at any of the clinics listed at https://bit.ly/3TObt5o. Gift cards will be offered through December 31, 2022 to any Massachusetts resident (adult or child) who gets vaccinated (first dose, second dose, or booster) while supplies last. You do not need an appointment, but some clinics may encourage pre-registration.
Pfizer Says Omicron Booster Generates Stronger Immune Response Than Original Vaccine
Pfizer-BioNTech's updated booster shot generates a stronger immune response against the omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 compared with the original Covid vaccine. Pfizer's original vaccine formula was designed to target the original coronavirus strain. The updated booster shot is designed to target the original virus strain, as well as BA.4 and BA.5, in a single shot. Learn more: https://nbcnews.to/3NW1R6C
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: https://bit.ly/3xpweeG
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 cic-health.com/cambridge, or assistance is available from CIC’s Customer Service Team at email@example.com or by calling 877-280-2937.
State COVID-19 Testing
Please visit mass.gov/GetTested.
Home PCR Tests for Adults
Please visit t.ly/vL4j 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 vaxfinder.mass.gov or VaxAbilities.com for children with sensory and/or other accommodation needs.
Residents who have received at least 1 dose: 113,138
Fully Vaccinated Residents: 90,552
Residents with 1 Booster: 60,812
Residents with 2 Boosters: 25,053
Total doses administered: 16,684,554
Total first booster doses administered: 3,361,017
Total second booster doses administered: 1,226,554
DPH Resources on COVID-19 and Monkeypox
COVID-19 FAQs: https://bit.ly/3aLrW99
Monkeypox information: mass.gov/monkeypox
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: 1,920,814
New Cases: 5,524
Total Deaths: 20,697
New PCR Tests: 104,010
Total Cases: 33,750
New Cases: 9
Total Deaths: 174
State interactive data dashboard: bit.ly/3Pe3hJk
Harvard COVID dashboard: bit.ly/3z8sa3C.
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
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
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 https://bit.ly/3fyEWkw for places serving those most affected by COVID-19 and https://bit.ly/3SMFeCU for 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.