The timeline for remaining groups will proceed as follows:
· March 22nd: Residents 60+ and certain workers (for a list of eligible workers, visit https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-vaccinations-for-certain-workers?auHash=bfk-H3eJd2Ajj7JmJ9faBIicK7ku84GMXMpsMGjvNtc) · April 5th: Residents 55+ and residents with one certain medical condition (for a list of eligible medical conditions, please visit https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-vaccinations-for-individuals-with-certain-medical-conditions?n) · April 19th: General public ages 16 and older. The full timeline is available at https://www.mass.gov/info-details/massachusetts-covid-19-vaccination-phases?n
The Commonwealth has received assurances from the federal government that an increased vaccine supply will be available to states soon. Depending on the supply, it could take weeks for people to be notified that an appointment is available at a mass vaccination site.
VACCINE EQUITY INITIATIVE
The Commonwealth also announced the release of $27.4 million in federal funds to increase trust, vaccine acceptance, and administration rates as part of the states’ Vaccine Equity Initiative and to meet the needs of priority populations. Recognizing equity as a critical component of the state’s vaccine distribution plan, the Department of Public Health is working closely with the 20 hardest hit communities in Massachusetts as they identify their specific community needs, further building on existing support.
These federal funds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC build upon current and past efforts supporting vaccination in these communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and includes partnerships with municipalities, local boards of health, community and faith-based organizations, community health centers, and others to reduce barriers to vaccination. These funs will also provide direct vaccine administration to populations that not effectively reached through existing vaccine supply channels. These federal funds include:
$10.6 million to provide direct assistance with vaccine access, including appointment registration assistance, transportation to vaccination clinics, mobility assistance, medical interpretation, and other supports. These services will be delivered through contracted community-based organizations (CBOs), community health centers (CHCs), and behavioral health providers.
$5.1 million to invest in community health centers through the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers to expand vaccination capacity at community health centers, including Community Health Worker Ambassadors.
$4.7 million to support municipalities and local boards of health through direct funding of the 20 equity municipalities for coordination and support for vaccine clinics and acceptance.
$4 million to help tailor community outreach and education through direct funding of local community-based and faith-based organizations in the 20 equity municipalities.
$3 million for direct vaccine administration in community settings by funding qualified organizations to directly administer vaccination to groups not effectively reached by other mechanisms.
Other activities underway include the DPH COVID-19 Vaccine Ambassador Program, which has assisted dozens of local meetings to answer questions about the vaccine, wide dissemination and amplification of the state’s “Trust the Facts. Get the Vax.” multilingual public awareness campaign, and the DPH Community Liaisons who meet weekly with representatives from affected communities to identify and lift barriers to vaccine access and support community-based solutions.
The Commonwealth’s Vaccine Equity Initiative focuses on 20 cities and towns with the greatest COVID-19 case burden, accounting for social determinants of health and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (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.