As of April 19, every Massachusetts resident age 16 and older will be eligible to sign up to get a coronavirus vaccine.
The Baker administration on Wednesday released the state's full timetable for when various remaining groups — including "essential workers," residents with one health condition that makes them more vulnerable to a serious case of COVID-19 and the rest of the general public — will be eligible to make appointments to receive the shots.
Here's the full timetable for those who are not currently eligible for vaccines:
- On March 22, individuals age 60 or older, and workers in sectors such as transit, grocery, utility, food and agriculture, sanitation, public works and public health will be allowed to book appointments. Here are full details on which industry workers qualify in this group.
- On April 5, individuals age 55 or older, and those with one medical condition that puts them at greater risk of a serious case of COVID-19 become eligible. The state may add more medical conditions to this list by April 5.
- On April 19, Patriot's Day, the rest of the general public age 16 or older may schedule appointments for the vaccines.
Residents can preregister for appointments now. Gov. Charlie Baker says three factors will determine when you are notified: your eligibility, when you sign up and how quickly appointments open near you.
Baker, a Republican, outlined the path to getting more than four million residents vaccinated after touring a vaccination site at The Shaw's Center in Brockton Wednesday morning. He said he’s expanding eligibility at two-week intervals because that fits an emerging pattern: people who want to get vaccinated in a new group tend to sign up within the first two weeks.
The Baker administration is focusing efforts to reach residents who are hesitant in the 20 communities with the highest coronavirus infection rates. The state is directing more federal money, $24.7 million, to community health centers, local health departments and outreach campaigns in those communities.
Baker urged the public to continue to wear masks, maintain a safe physical distance from others, use good hygiene and get tested to help stop the spread of the coronavirus and emerging variants. He said that’s how Massachusetts will rebuild the economy and restore social events, but it will take time.
“To truly get to the point where we’re, sort of, behind this,” Baker said, “that’s months from now.”
Last week, the state deployed the preregistration portal for the first time. As of now, it only includes the state's seven mass vaccination sites. Baker said he expects the site will direct residents to more vaccination sites soon.
This week, vaccine supply remained tight. Baker said the state received a modest increase: 170,000 new doses, up from about 155,000 last week. That means some teachers and staff in K-12 schools, who became eligible for inoculation as of March 11, and other eligible residents were still left jockeying for slots.
Other groups currently eligible to be vaccinated include residents 65 and older, medical and emergency personnel, and people with two or more specific health conditions that increase their risk from COVID-19.
Mass. Vaccination In Charts
This post is developing and will be updated. With reporting from State House News Service's Michael P. Norton.
This article was originally published on March 17, 2021.