As people get vaccinated against COVID-19, some of us are eager to get in line, but how long will it take to get vaccinated? And when is it your turn? The vaccine process began mid-December 2020 in Massachusetts, and alongside the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Governor Charlie Baker’s administration updated the distribution timeline for all Massachusetts residents.
During Phase 1 (Dec. 2020 – Jan. 2021) of the Massachusetts COVID-19 vaccine plan the first doses were given to health care professionals who work in patient-facing roles, residents of long-term care facilities, first responders, and residents of congregate care settings (like correctional facilities and shelters). Phase 2 includes patient vaccination for specific age, health, and occupation brackets. Phase 3 covers the general public.
What You Should Know
Even if you were previously sick with COVID-19 or had a positive test for COVID-19, you should still get the vaccine. Currently, scientists think COVID-19 antibodies protect people after infection for around 6 months, but more studies are being done to determine if this is accurate for everyone. Those who have had COVID-19 can and should receive the vaccine when it is available because it will give you an additional level of immunity. It is not recommended or needed to test for COVID-19 antibodies prior to getting vaccinated.
If you currently have COVID-19 (even if you don’t have any symptoms), you should wait to be vaccinated until you no longer required to isolate at home (usually 10-20 days after your symptom onset or positive test). Consult with your health care provider if you are concerned that you may have COVID-19.
The Commonwealth’s vaccination timeline is based on key priorities and is designed to best protect the Massachusetts community. The goals are:
- To protect the most vulnerable
- To keep healthcare facilities below capacity
- To tackle inequality of healthcare access by making the vaccine available to all
With these goals in mind Massachusetts has a three-phase program to get you and your family safely vaccinated.
Phase 1: December 2020 – January 2021
The first vaccinations will go to those who work with COVID-19 patients directly, those who work with vulnerable populations, those in care facilities, and those who are emergency respondents, including:
- Patient-facing health care workers in COVID-facing roles
- Long term care facilities, rest homes, or assisted living facilities
- Police, Firefighters, and emergency medical service professionals
- Congregate care settings (shelters and corrections)
- Home-based health care workers
- Health care workers in non-COVID facing roles
Phase 2: February – April 2021
The second round of vaccinations focuses on people with co-morbid health conditions, workers in key public and governmental sectors, and the elderly:
- People who are 75 or older
- People who are 60 or older
- People with 2 or more certain medical conditions
- People who live or work in low income and affordable senior housing
- K-12 educators, K-12 school staff, and child care workers
- Certain workers
Eligible April 5, 2021:
- People who are 55 or older
- People with 1 certain medical condition
Phase 3: April 19, 2021
- Individuals age 16+
If your group is not specifically listed in either Phase 1 or Phase 2, you will be eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase 3, which will launch April 19, 2021.
- Preregister at VaccineSignUp.mass.gov to be notified when it’s your turn to schedule an appointment at one of 7 mass vaccination locations: Hynes Convention Center, Gillette Stadium, Reggie Lewis Center, DoubleTree Hotel in Danvers, Eastfield Mall in Springfield, Natick Mall and former Circuit City in Dartmouth
- Use VaxFinder.mass.gov to search for appointments at pharmacies, health care providers, and other community locations
- Public vaccine clinics will be available (use the CDC’s interactive website)
Once vaccinated, keep wearing your masks, clean your hands often, and practice physical distancing to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you.