Who can get the vaccine now?
Adults age 65-plus and people with two or more serious medical conditions. People who accompany those 75 and older to one of the state’s mass vaccination sites can also be immunized if they make an appointment. Each older resident is limited to one guest who can receive a vaccine.
Health care workers, long-term care facility residents and staff, first responders and people living or working in congregate care settings like homeless or domestic violence shelters.
Where can I get vaccinated?
Mass vaccination sites, including Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Fenway Park in Boston, the Doubletree Hotel in Danvers, the Natick Mall in Natick, the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston and the Eastfield Mall in Springfield. You can pre-register for an appointment or use the state’s vaccine finder tool. Or you can call 2-1-1 to use a toll-free scheduling hotline. Use the prompt “for help with a vaccine appointment.” The hotline is staffed by English and Spanish speakers, and additional translations services are available.
Certain hospitals, health centers and vaccine clinics. Use the interactive map on the state’s COVID-19 vaccine website to find a location near you and book through the vaccine finder tool or by calling 2-1-1.
Vaccine supplies are limited everywhere and available only to those now eligible under each state’s phased plan. Most vaccine sites require you to schedule an appointment online or by phone. Appointments can be very hard to get, as available time slots are booked quickly, and you may experience long wait times on the phone. If a time slot is not available, you may be put on the site’s waiting list. Some people are signing up at multiple sites to increase chances of getting an appointment. Once you have a confirmed appointment, public health officials ask that you don’t schedule or confirm another with any other provider so that vaccine appointments stay open for others.
What should I bring to my vaccination appointment?
Some vaccination sites ask for proof of identity or eligibility. Officials recommend that you bring a driver’s license or other state-issued ID that shows your name, age and state residency, and your health insurance card, if you have one. You will not be charged, but the vaccine provider may bill your insurer a fee for administering the vaccine.
If you are eligible due to an underlying medical condition or comorbidity, you may need a note from your doctor or some other form of proof. If you are eligible on the basis of your work, bring proof of employment such as a pay stub, badge or letter from your employer.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says to wear a mask at your appointment.
Who will be eligible to get vaccinated next?
Teachers, food and agriculture workers, sanitation and public health employees, judges and other court system workers are also grouped in Phase 2, though they’re further down the priority list. Teachers and education staff will be able to get a vaccine starting on March 11. The general public will be able to get a vaccine in Phase 3. According to the state’s vaccine timeline, Phase 3 could begin in April.
How will residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities get vaccinated?
Most residents and staff of long-term care facilities are being vaccinated through a federal program that has contracted with CVS and Walgreens to administer the two-dose COVID-19 vaccines at three free on-site clinics at the facilities.
Almost all nursing homes, which were given first priority, have completed their first and second clinics, and most have also finished their final clinics, according to data from CVS and Walgreens. Many assisted living and other long-term care facilities are also taking part in the program. Almost all of them have completed their first clinics, and most have completed their second. All the vaccination clinics are slated to be complete by late March.
I’ve heard that some vaccines require a second shot.
The COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna require two doses. If you get one of these, you’ll need a follow-up dose to be effectively immunized. The recommended second-shot date is three weeks after a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and four weeks for Moderna’s, but the CDC says an interval of up to six weeks is acceptable. You should get a card from your provider saying when and where to return for the second dose. The state says it will send reminders via text, emails and phone calls. Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine requires just one shot.
It’s not yet known how long immunity from a coronavirus vaccine lasts and whether it needs to be administered on a regular basis like a flu shot.
Do I have to pay for the vaccination?
You should not have any out-of-pocket cost for getting the vaccine. AARP fought to make sure the federal government is covering the cost of the vaccine itself. Providers can recoup a fee for administering the shot, but not from consumers. They would be reimbursed by the patient’s insurance company or the government (in the case of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries and the uninsured, for example).
Should I still wear a mask after getting vaccinated?
Yes. Experts still need to learn more about the protection the vaccines provide under “real-world conditions,” the CDC says. It could take your body a few weeks to build up immunity after the second dose.
The vaccine is just one tool that can help slow the spread of the coronavirus. The CDC says it could take months for the population to build up immunity and continues to recommend preventive measures such as face masks and social distancing.
In addition, it’s not yet clear how effective the vaccines are against new, more contagious strains of the coronavirus initially identified in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil and elsewhere, although they would still provide some protection.