The start of the new year brings with it a sense of hope, and after the challenges of 2020, this is most certainly true for 2021. Over the course of the past few weeks of this calendar year, the Commonwealth has initiated an important step in addressing the COVID-19 public health crisis with the implementation of vaccines to eligible groups in accordance with the vaccine distribution plan. As an agency on the frontlines of supporting older adults and persons with disabilities, Minuteman Senior Services stands ready to assist residents in our communities by serving as a trusted resource for information and services to assist those in need regarding COVID-19 vaccines.
We recognize that individuals are eager to receive the vaccine. Over the next few months as supply increases, anyone seeking to receive the vaccine will have access to one. Here’s what you need to know:
- Vaccine safety: The two current COVID-19 Vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) have been approved and recommended by the FDA and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) after standard testing and approval processes. For the most current information on vaccine safety, please visit mass.gov/COVIDVaccineSafety. We encourage everyone to talk with your doctor about the vaccine in relation to your individual health needs.
- Cost of the vaccine: The vaccine is free for all individuals. Individuals will be asked about insurance information and need to bring a copy of an insurance card at the time of inoculation. If you do not have insurance, you can still receive the vaccine.
- Eligibility to receive the vaccine: The Commonwealth is taking a phased approach with the implementation of the COVID vaccine. Effective as of February 18th, individuals age 65 or older are eligible to receive the vaccine at a local or state testing site. Beginning as of February 11th, a companion who is assisting a person 75 years or older at one of the mass vaccination sites can also register to receive a vaccine. Information regarding eligibility can be found at www.mass.gov/info-details/massachusetts-covid-19-vaccination-phases.
- Vaccine safety: The two current COVID-19 Vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) have been approved and recommended by the FDA and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) after standard testing and approval processes. For the most current information on vaccine safety, please visit www.mass.gov/COVIDVaccineSafety. We encourage everyone to talk with your doctor about the vaccine in relation to your individual health needs.
- Scheduling a Vaccine: Appointments can be scheduled by visiting www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-vaccination-locations or calling 2-1-1 (877-211-6277). Given demand for supply, it may be that your appointment will be a couple weeks out when you look for appointments, particularly at smaller sites. The mass vaccination sites have the greatest opportunity for availability sooner and tend to release large numbers of appointments on Thursdays.
- Beware of Scams: Unfortunately, scams are on the rise, with scammers offering information to either schedule appointments or assist with transportation. Follow these tips.
Here at Minuteman, we are ready to assist as needed. We are working to assist existing consumers with scheduling appointments as needed, as well as helping to coordinate transportation to vaccine clinics. We continue to work with state agencies, municipal agencies, housing entities, and community partners on promoting the availability of clinics to eligible individuals. Be on the lookout for more information in the weeks to come, and give us a call if we can be of help!