Governor Charlie Baker announced Thursday that everyone eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine under Phase 1 of the state’s rollout program can now book an appointment to get a shot.
That now includes home-based health care workers, and non-COVID-facing health care workers, as well as workers and residents of congregate care settings such as shelters and prisons. The vaccine has already been available to COVID-facing health care workers, staff, and residents of long-term-care facilities, and first responders such as police, firefighters, and paramedics.
Among those who fall under the home-based health care workers category are personal care attendants (PCAs); mental and behavioral health providers providing in-home treatment; aging service agency staff performing regular visits in the home; and many other groups, according to the state list.
Non-COVID-facing health care workers now eligible for the vaccine include dentists, dental students, and dental hygienists; inpatient and outpatient physical therapists; blood donation workers; audiologists and speech and language pathologists; asthma and allergy specialists; chiropractors; acupuncturists; and a wide array of other professionals.
These are the lists of the of Phase 1 groups who are newly eligible to receive the shots, according to the state:
Home-based health care workers, including:
- PT/OT/SLP therapists who work with medically complex home students
- Personal care attendants
- Home health, hospice, and home care agency staff performing visits in the home
- Independent nurses and continuous skilled nursing staff performing visits in the home
- Aging service agency staff performing regular visits in the home
- State agency staff performing direct care in the home, including DCF emergency response workers, DMH case managers and DDS care coordinators
- Mental and behavioral health providers providing in-home treatment (e.g., ACCS integrated team, PACT, CBHI, ABA, ESP)
- Adult foster care and group adult foster care workers performing work in the home
- Independent therapists (physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech & language therapists) performing work in the home
- Home-based respite and individual/Family support staff (DDS and DDS self directed)
Health care workers doing non-COVID-facing care, including:
- Dentists/dental students, and dental hygienists (unless routinely working with COVID-19 positive or suspected patients such as oral surgeons covering the ER, in which case should be considered COVID-facing)
- Medical and nursing students (unless routinely working with COVID-19 positive or suspected patients, in which case should be considered COVID-facing)
- Inpatient and outpatient physical therapists (unless routinely working with COVID-19 positive or suspected patients, in which case should be considered COVID-facing)
- Interpreters who work in hospitals (unless routinely working with COVID-19 positive or suspected patients, in which case should be considered COVID-facing)
- Behavioral health clinicians not already covered in congregate care or direct care
- Non-COVID-facing laboratorians
- Blood donation workers
- Organ donation procurement workers
- Hospice/palliative care professionals
- Non-COVID-facing imaging professionals
- Dialysis center workers and patients
- Audiologists and speech and language pathologists (unless routinely working with COVID-19 positive or suspected patients, in which case should be considered COVID-facing)
- Podiatrists and pedorthists (unless routinely working with COVID-19 positive or suspected patients, in which case should be considered COVID-facing)
- Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) staff
- SUD treatment program staff (if program is non-residential)
- Asthma and allergy specialists
- Diagnostic sleep testing center staff
- School nurses (other than those working as vaccinators/testers)
- Members of the clergy (if working in patient-facing roles)
Next up will be Phase 2, which is slated to launch at some point in February, according to the state. The phase includes, in order of priority, people with two or more comorbidities; those age 75 and older; residents and staff of public and private low-income and affordable senior housing; workers in early education, K-12 schools, transit, grocery, utilities, food and agriculture, restaurants and cafes; employees across the food, beverage, agriculture, consumer goods, retail, and food service sectors; meatpackers; sanitation, public works, and public health workers; vaccine development workers; food pantry workers and volunteers; Uber, Lyft, and other ride share service workers; pharmacy delivery drivers; workers in the passenger ground transportation industry; MassPort employees other than police; water and wastewater utility staff; court system workers such as judges, lawyers, and clerks but not court officers, who’re listed as first responders; medical supply chain workers; funeral directors and funeral workers; shipping port and terminal workers; adults 65 and over; and people with one comorbidity.
Then, the state site says, Massachusetts is scheduled to hit Phase 3 of the rollout in April, when the vaccine “is expected to be available to the general public,” including higher education workers such as administrators, teaching, and non-teaching staff; bottled beverage industry workers; and veterinarians.
“Once the vaccine is available to the general public, public vaccine clinics will be available on the CDC’s interactive website: vaccinefinder.org,” the state site says. “You will also be able to check with your primary care provider, local pharmacy or local health department. "
Speaking during his regular State House briefing Thursday, Baker said that “based on the number of people who have been vaccinated, who were part of the early part of Phase 1, we now believe anybody in Phase 1 should go to the website, find a site near them, and go get dosed. Because they [vaccination sites] are now open. All of them.”
The website he referred to is mass.gov/covidvaccinemap, which provides information on eligibility and vaccination site locations, as well as instructions for booking appointments.
The state site also reminds residents that “the vaccine requires two doses. You must receive the same vaccine for doses one and two, and therefore you must receive both doses at the same site location.”