Massachusetts residents aged 75 and older can now receive COVID-19 vaccines, with Phase 2 of the state’s vaccination plan having kicked off.
Appointments will be added every Thursday for the state’s mass vaccination sites, which include Gillette Stadium, Fenway Park, the Eastfield Mall in Springfield, and the DoubleTree Hotel in Danvers, according to the state’s vaccine appointment website.A total of seven mass vaccination sites are expected to open, Governor Charlie Baker said.
The state is also ramping up the number of public sites, including pharmacies and community centers, across the state where eligible residents can receive the vaccine. Forty-three of those sites will be at pharmacies and locations like CVS and Stop & Shop. The state ultimately expects to have 71 retail pharmacy sites open, though some have been hampered by lack of access to vaccine doses.
While appointments can be made online or through a call center for eligible seniors, state officials have noted that availability is limited and it may take weeks for residents to schedule an appointment.
If you are signed up to receive the vaccine, here’s what to know before heading out the door:
What do I need to bring?
Residents are required to present proof of their eligibility in order to receive the vaccine. Some sites may require individuals to attest to their eligibility while they are scheduling the appointment online. But all other sites, according to the state, will accept the Commonwealth’s Self Attestation form. This can be filled out online.
The form can be printed out and brought with you to your appointment. According to the state, it is also acceptable to display the confirmation email on your phone that the form has been filled out. If you cannot print out your form or complete it online, it can be filled out at the vaccination site.
The state also notes that you may be asked for the following information at your appointment:
1) An insurance card. While vaccination is free whether you have insurance or not, the state asks that if you do have it, to bring that information with you.
2) Identification. Examples given by the state include an employer-issued ID card that includes your name and title, a government-issued identification or license, or a recent paystub.
Residents can still get a vaccine even if they do not have a social security number or a driver’s license.
Do I need to be tested for COVID-19 before I get the vaccine?
According to the state, a COVID-19 test is not required before your vaccination appointment.
Can I receive the vaccine if I am currently positive for COVID-19?
Residents who are symptomatic should not get vaccinated until they no longer have symptoms. If you have tested previously for the virus and are no longer symptomatic, however, you can still proceed with your appointment.
What about my second dose?
The state requires that residents receive their second dose at the same vaccination site where they received their first dose.
According to the state, the Pfizer vaccine requires two doses to be given 21 days apart, and the Moderna vaccine requires two doses to be given 28 days apart. In order to be effective, people should get both doses of the vaccine to be fully vaccinated.
“You should get your second shot as close to the recommended 3-week or 1-month interval as possible,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “However, there is no maximum interval between the first and second doses for either vaccine. You should not get the second dose earlier than the recommended interval.”
If you are unsure about how to schedule your second dose, it is recommended that you reach out to the location you received — or will be getting — your first shot at.
Can I choose which vaccine I receive?
No. Residents, according to the state, will receive the vaccine that is offered to them when they attend their appointment.
Do I need to wear a mask at my appointment?
Yes. The healthcare worker administering the vaccine must also wear a mask. The CDC recommends that “during the pandemic, people wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth when in contact with others outside their household, when in healthcare facilities, and when receiving any vaccine, including a COVID-19 vaccine.”
Will I receive anything at my appointment to show proof that I was vaccinated?
Residents should receive “a vaccination card or printout that tells you what COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it,” according to the state.
You should also receive a fact sheet that tells you more about the specific vaccine you are offered.
How long do I need to stay at the vaccination site after I get inoculated?
Anyone who receives the COVID-19 vaccine should be monitored at the site of the appointment, according to the CDC. You should expect to stay at least 15 minutes after getting the vaccine.
The pharmacist or healthcare worker will need to monitor you in case you have an allergic reaction to the vaccine.
“People who have had severe allergic reactions or who have had any type of immediate allergic reaction to a vaccine or injectable therapy should be monitored for at least 30 minutes after getting the vaccine,” according to the CDC.
What if I experience symptoms after my appointment?
If you experience symptoms including significant pain or discomfort after your appointment, the state recommends that you talk to your health care provider.
“To reduce pain and discomfort where you got the shot, apply a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the area, and use or exercise your arm,” the state recommends. “To reduce discomfort from fever, drink plenty of fluids and dress lightly.”
In most cases, discomfort from fever or pain is normal.
If you have any side effects after getting the vaccine, you can tell the CDC through v-safe, a smartphone-based tool. It uses “text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccination,” according to the state.
Below is site-specific information about the vaccination locations in the Greater Boston area:
Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury:
1) The clinic at the Reggie Lewis Center at Roxbury Community College was slated to begin injections on Feb. 1 but its opening was delayed a day due to a snowstorm. Appointments that were scheduled will be rebooked for Feb. 8. Officials will contact those people to reschedule their visits.
2) The Boston Public Health Commission is running the site with a staff of 40 until the state takes over at the end of the month. The commission is scheduling 1,100 appointments a week — about 220 a day.
3) The city’s goal as it oversees the site is to administer 1,200 doses per week. The state ultimately hopes to give 1,200 to 1,500 doses each day.
4) Residents can go to www.maimmunizations.org to schedule an appointment at the clinic.
5) Roxbury Community College has provided directions by car and where to park on its website. The Reggie Lewis Center is also directly across from the Roxbury Crossing transit station, which residents can get to by taking the Orange Line.
1) Visitors must pass a “wellness assessment,” either online or through Gillette Stadium’s smartphone app, to enter the facility. After completing the check, they can take an escalator to a registration area.
2) CIC Health, a Cambridge technology company with a focus on COVID-19 testing, is running the site. CIC estimates that people will spend 45 minutes to 1 hour at the site, depending on how long they need to be monitored after receiving a shot.
3) Fallon Ambulance, a longtime medical service provider at Gillette, will prepare and administer the vaccines. Mass General Brigham will provide “medical oversight.”
4) Gillette is providing parking spaces, and stadium staff will help manage the flow of people entering and exiting the stadium.
5) Once someone receives a vaccine at the site, they will be directed to sit in a 15-minute observation area, where medical staff can assist with any adverse symptoms. Those who know they may be susceptible to a reaction are automatically taken to a 30-minute observation area.
6) During the waiting period, patients will be encouraged to book their next vaccination appointment on CIC’s website to complete the two-dose cycle. They can also schedule the follow-up appointment after they leave.
7) At first, Gillette will offer the vaccine from Cambridge-based Moderna, but the state has also asked that CIC also be prepared to distribute the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which requires colder storage temperatures.
8) The Gillette site is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
1) A section of the Fenway Park concourse near the third base has been converted into a mass vaccination site. Workers will prepare hundreds of shots of the COVID-19 vaccine when it opens Monday.
2) CIC Health is running the site, along with several partners. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center will oversee the vaccine administration.
3) The Fenway site is expected to stay open until April when baseball season gets underway, so people will be able to make appointments for second doses of the shot elsewhere.
4) Health care professionals will aim to inoculate 500 people every day with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine before ramping up and eventually vaccinating 1,250 people daily.
5) A heater will be in the vaccination area to help keep people warm as they await their shots.
6) Wheelchairs will be available for those who may need them to navigate the ballpark. The process is estimated to take between 45 minutes and an hour, and bathrooms will be available inside the stadium.
7) Parking may be a challenge as people will have to find spots in lots or on the street, and that will not be free. The stadium is near a Green Line stop.
8) People with appointments will enter the stadium at Gate A on Jersey Street, where they will check in at one of five desks to complete a health screening. They will then join a socially distanced queue indoors.
9) After receiving a shot, people will be asked to wait 15 to 30 minutes in an observation area so medical staff can monitor them for any adverse reactions. While waiting, they will be encouraged to make an appointment for their second dose, but they can also schedule the appointment after they leave.
10) If the site needs to close due to unsafe weather, CIC Health will help people reschedule their appointments, which are made one week at a time. Appointment slots will be based on the supply of the vaccine available.
11) The Fenway site is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Material from previous Globe stories was used in this report.