BOSTON (WPRI) — Beginning Thursday, Massachusetts residents 65 and older, as well as people with two or more certain medical conditions, will be eligible to book an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Eligibility will also be extended to residents and staff of low-income and affordable public and private senior housing, according to the governor.
“We’ve seen significant progress over the past two weeks to get shots in arms,” Baker said Wednesday.
More than 70,000 appointments for next week at mass vaccination sites will be available at 9 a.m. Thursday, Baker added.
Other appointments for pharmacies and local clinics are expected to be posted throughout the week.
The Mass. Department of Health released the following list of eligible medical conditions for Phase 2, based on CDC guidelines.
- Asthma (moderate to severe)
- Chronic kidney disease
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Down Syndrome
- Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
- Obesity and severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher)
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus
Baker said the state has administered more than 1.1 million doses of the vaccine to date, including approximately 285,000 last week.
More than 250,000 residents 75 and older have received the vaccine, according to Baker.
Due to the high demand for appointments and limited supply of vaccine, health officials say it could take more than a month for eligible residents to secure a spot.
“These two groups that we are now opening up the vaccination process to represent approximately one million people,” Baker said. “The demand is so much greater than the supply that we are getting at this point in time.”
Mass. Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders announced the supply of doses from the federal government is set to increase by 29,000, meaning the state will have 139,000 first doses available next week.
“The first very modest increase in a long time,” Sudders said.
“We all remain hopeful that those numbers will increase from the federal government as we move forward,” Baker added.
A new focus on getting the vaccine to the state’s hardest hit areas include New Bedford and Fall River, the governor also announced.
“Our goal is to build more efficient vaccination sites regionally that can vaccinate people more quickly,” he said.
On Friday, the state launched a COVID-19 Vaccine Finder allowing residents to search for their city or town and filter the results by site type.
Baker said appointments at CVS locations will also begin to be shown on the finder.
Also on Friday, the state expanded the hours of the 211 hotline to Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“We continue to monitor the wait time and length of time people are on the calls and we will flex staffing as appropriate, because we don’t want people to wait,” she said.
Sudders asked people do not use the hotline if they are able to make their appointment online.