Governor Baker Announces Vaccine Equity Initiative, Opens Eligibility to Age 65+

The Baker Administration announced a targeted outreach initiative in 20 cities and towns most disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and  $1M to the MA League of Community Health Centers to support vaccination in historically underserved communities.

The Administration also announced separately that individuals ages 65 and older, individuals living with two or more medical conditions that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, and residents and staff of senior affordable housing​ are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Massachusetts. With this announcement, almost 1 million individuals are newly eligible for vaccine.

Regarding the equity initiative, the Department of Public Health (DPH) will invest resources directly in the 20 cities and towns most disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 to increase awareness of the vaccine’s safety and efficacy and to reduce barriers to vaccination. DPH will assist each city or town by working with local leaders,  and community- and faith-based groups to strengthen existing efforts focused on awareness and overcoming barriers so that residents will get vaccinated when it’s their turn.

The initiative will focus on 20 cities and towns with the greatest COVID-19 case burden, taking into account social determinants of health and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on BIPOC.  These communities are Boston, Brockton, Chelsea, Everett, Fall River, Fitchburg, Framingham, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Methuen, New Bedford, Randolph, Revere, Springfield, and Worcester.

Massachusetts now ranks in the Top 10 for vaccinations per capita according to the CDC and last week administered more doses per week than it received from the federal government. For more info is available here on the Governor’s vaccine equity initiative.

As for the enhanced vaccine eligibility announcement, individuals 65 and over, including residents and staff of low income and affordable public and private senior housing are eligible to receive vaccine effective tomorrow, February 18th.

Residents and staff of low income and affordable public and private senior housing can learn more about vaccination options here.

Individuals 16 and older with two or more of certain medical conditions (defined below) are eligible for vaccine, effective tomorrow.

In concert with CDC guidelines, the Commonwealth has adopted the list of conditions that cause individuals to be at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Massachusetts has also identified moderate to severe asthma as an eligible medical condition.

More information on the eligibility announcement is available here.