Congregate care facilities in Mass. should begin receiving COVID-19 vaccine next week

Massachusetts

BOSTON (WPRI) — Residents and staff in Massachusetts’ congregate care communities will be able to begin receiving the COVID-19 vaccine next week, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Wednesday.

Baker said this part of the vaccination plan includes over 94,000 eligible individuals at facilities such as residential congregate care programs, groups homes, residential treatment programs, community-based acute residential treatment programs and clinical stabilization programs.

Shelter programs, such as homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters and veteran shelters, will also be included, the governor said.

“These facilities are prioritized because they serve vulnerable populations in densely populated settings, which means they are at significant risk of contracting COVID-19,” he said.

Approximately 1,500 congregate care sites were already able to receive their doses through the federal pharmacy vaccination program, which leaves about 3,500 congregate care cites and correction facilities to work with the state on distribution, according to Baker.

Congregate care setting employees and residents will be able to get appointments to get their first doses at Gillette Stadium starting Monday, he said.

A full map of vaccination sites is available at mass.gov/covidvaccine, and sites are expected to be added on a rolling basis.

Correctional facilities will receive the vaccine directly beginning next week, which Baker said includes approximately 6,500 inmates and 4,500 staff at Department of Corrections’ facilities.

The inoculations are expected to take about three weeks there, according to the governor.

“For houses of correction that are run by the sheriffs, there will be a similar process with their medical providers administering vaccines there,” he said.

Mass. Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders announced public and private low income and affordable senior housing are now being prioritized in Phase 2 Group 1 of the state’s vaccine distribution plan.

Similar senior facilities have been able to already begin receiving doses through the pharmacy vaccine distribution program, she explained.

“This change brings the timetable for other similar facilities more in line,” Sudders said.

This includes approximately 160,000 residents and staff becoming eligible to receive the vaccine sooner, according to Sudders.

Mass. health officials reported 5,278 new confirmed cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, and that an additional 86 people had died after contracting COVID-19.

Data also shows 2,200 people are currently in the hospital with the virus, with 461 patients in the intensive care unit.

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