Massachusetts residents aged 65 and older and those with two or more qualifying health conditions will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine beginning Thursday, according to state officials.
The new cohorts join those 75 and older — as well as health care workers and first responders — in becoming eligible for the shots under the state’s vaccination plan.
The priority groups become eligible one by one. Here’s a closer look at each phase.
The groups who are eligible under Phase 1 are:
1. Clinical and non-clinical health care workers doing direct and COVID-facing care
2. Long term care facilities, rest homes and assisted living facilities
3. First responders
4. Congregate care settings
5. Home-based health care workers
6. Health care workers doing non-COVID-facing care
The priority groups for Phase 2 are:
1. People aged 75 and older (became eligible Feb. 1). One companion who accompanies those 75 and older to their appointments at mass vaccination sites are also able to receive the shot
2. People aged 65 and older, people with two or more comorbidities, and residents and staff of low-income and affordable senior housing (eligible as of Feb. 18). Here are the health conditions that qualify, according to the state:
- Moderate-to-severe asthma
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Down Syndrome
- Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
- Weakened immune system from solid organ transplant
- Obesity and severe obesity (those with a body mass index of 30 kilograms per square meter or higher)
- Sickle sell disease
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus
3. Workers, which consist of people who work in the following sectors. This list is updated twice per week in response to inquiries submitted by residents, according to the state.
- Early education and K-12, transit, grocery, utility, food and agriculture, restaurant and cafe workers
- Food, beverages, consumer goods, retail, and food service
- Sanitation, public works, and public health
- Food pantry workers and volunteers
- Transit and transportation, including Uber and Lyft, rideshare services, and pharmacy delivery drivers; workers in the passenger ground transportation industry, such as food delivery and paratransit for people with disabilities; MassPort workers other than police
- Convenience store workers
- Water and wastewater utility staff
- Court system workers, such as judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, clerks, who are not listed under first responders
- Medical supply chain workers
- Funeral directors and funeral workers
- Shipping port and terminal workers
4. People with one comorbidity
The groups included in Phase 3 are:
The vaccine is expected to be available to the general public during this phase.
I’m eligible for a vaccine. How do I make an appointment?
People who are 65 and older in Massachusetts or who have two or more qualifying health conditions who didn’t qualify in the Phase 1 group will be able to book their vaccination appointments online.
Phase 2 of COVID-19 vaccinations began on Feb. 1 with those 75 and older. The announcement of the start of Phase 2 in late January and that those 65 and older and those with two or more certain health conditions would move up in the priority order arrived as Baker announced an expansion of vaccination sites in the state, though he cautioned the state “can only move as fast as the federal government shifts vaccines to the Commonwealth.”
Residents can visit mass.gov/covidvaccinemap to see a map of vaccination sites and determine when they are eligible or call 211 and follow the prompts to make an appointment.
Where can I get vaccinated?
There are currently four mass vaccination sites administering vaccines in the state: Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Fenway Park, the Eastfield Mall in Springfield, and the DoubleTree Hotel in Danvers. Governor Charlie Baker has said the state plans to operate seven such sites in total.
In addition to the mass vaccination sites, there are more than 170 locations offering COVID-19 shots at pharmacies, community health centers, markets, and other sites.
Check the state’s map to find a vaccination location near you: