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What to know if you’re an educator newly eligible for the vaccine in Massachusetts

The door of a kindergarten classroom at Mary L. Fonseca Elementary School in Fall River.
The door of a kindergarten classroom at Mary L. Fonseca Elementary School in Fall River.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

Governor Charlie Baker announced Wednesday that K-12 educators, other school staff, and child-care workers can begin signing up for vaccination appointments next week, opening up slots to the roughly 400,000 people in that group.

The move comes after President Biden on Tuesday called on states to prioritize vaccinating educators and staff, saying he would like educators to have received one dose of the vaccine by the end of March. On Wednesday, CVS opened appointments to educators in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Educators will become eligible next week under Phase 2 of the state’s vaccination plan, joining residents 65 and older and those with two or more qualifying health conditions. They were initially grouped with other essential workers including grocery store employees, restaurant workers, and transit and transportation workers, among others, but Baker’s announcement moves them up higher in the line. The state has not yet announced when appointments will open up to other essential workers.

Here’s what to know if you’re a newly eligible educator.

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Who qualifies?

Baker said the group includes all K-12 educators, staff, and child-care workers.

When can I book an appointment?

CVS on Wednesday announced it was immediately opening up appointment slots to educators, and so eligible people can book an appointment at CVS locations that administer vaccines now — if appointments are available. At the state’s mass vaccination clinics and other sites, appointments will open up to educators and staff on March 11. The date falls on a Thursday, which is when appointments at the state’s mass vaccination sites go live each week.

Baker also said the state will be designating specific days for educators to receive their shots at the state’s seven mass vaccination sites: Fenway Park in Boston, the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Roxbury, the DoubleTree Hotel in Danvers, the Natick Mall in Natick, Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, the former Circuit City in Dartmouth, and the Eastfield Mall in Springfield. More information on those days will be released in the future, Baker said, but they will likely fall on weekends.

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The state estimates it will take about a month for educators, staff, and child-care workers to secure a first appointment, but that time frame could change if vaccine supply from the federal government increases.

Where can I get vaccinated?

Baker said Wednesday that the newly eligible group will be able to receive the vaccine at the state’s 170 vaccination sites, including the state’s high-volume mass vaccination sites.

Here’s a map from the state that shows vaccination locations in Massachusetts:

What will supply look like?

Baker said Massachusetts currently receives about 150,000 first doses of the vaccine per week from the federal government.

Although the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine was recently authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration and doses have started shipping across the country, Massachusetts and other states were told by the federal government that states should not expect a significant increase in vaccine supply until the end of March, Baker said. The number of vaccine doses the state receives “will remain relatively consistent over the course of the next three or four weeks, which are obviously not enough to vaccinate everybody who would like to be vaccinated today,” Baker said Wednesday.

“We obviously need a lot more doses, a lot sooner than the current guidelines that have been applied to us by the feds, if we’re truly going to make our way through this group as quickly as possible,” he added, urging people to be patient unless there’s a “big change in the available supply in the near future.”

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Pharmacies in Massachusetts, including CVS, receive vaccine doses separately through a federal retail pharmacy program.


Amanda Kaufman can be reached at amanda.kaufman@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @amandakauf1.