BOSTON (WPRI) — All Massachusetts residents 75 and older will be able to start getting vaccinated for COVID-19 starting next week, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Monday.
Baker said his administration updated its vaccine distribution plan to move people 75 and older to the first priority group in Phase 2, meaning they can get their shots beginning on Monday, Feb. 1.
“These vaccines are safe,” he assured.
Those residents can sign up for an appointment online starting this Wednesday, Jan. 27.
People 65 and older have been moved up to the second group in Phase 2, Baker said, along with individuals with two medical conditions that put them at increased risk.
“If you have a serious medical condition or aren’t sure if that changes your eligibility, you should reach out to and contact you doctor,” Baker added.
The next group in Phase 2 consists of workers in the following sectors: early childhood and K-12 education, transit, grocery, utility, food and agriculture, sanitation, public works, and public health.
Everyone listed in Phase 1 is currently eligible to receive the vaccine, including health care workers, first responders, and residents and staff of long-term and congregate care facilities.
Baker said the state currently has more than 100 vaccination sites and he hopes to have has many as 165 open by mid-February.
“We are setting up the capacity to administer far more doses than we are currently receiving or projecting to receive from the feds,” he said.
The governor said the state right now has the capacity to administer roughly 242,000 doses per week, which far exceeds the 173,000 they expect to receive from the federal government this week.
By mid-February, the state will have the capacity to administer 305,000 vaccinations per week, according to Baker, while it’s on track to receive just under 190,000 doses a week at that point.
“If we continue to get the same number of doses that we are getting now, we may end up with some empty seats and empty appointments at our sites,” Baker said. “We think it is better to over-plan at this point in the process and hope that the feds can get there.”
On Monday, Baker also announced three new mass vaccination sites at Eastfield Mall in Springfield, Double Tree Hilton Hotel in Danvers, and Reggie Lewis Center in Boston.
“Right now, we plan to set up seven mass vaccination sites,” he added.
Baker also said 43 new pharmacy and retail locations will open this week, and by Feb. 15, they expect to have 71 of those locations open.
“These sites are established to create more equitable access to all communities,” he said. “Some of the sites are restricted because they are smaller-scale operations operated in many cases by the community and limited to residents from certain communities, cities and town, or dedicated to certain workers.”
If you are eligible, visit mass.gov/COVIDVaccineMap to make an appointment at your closest vaccine clinic.