How to Get the Vaccine

The instructions included here for scheduling appointments are the best information we have, but the truth is that it is going to be hard for people to actually find vaccines. Many sites are not actually offering appointments. If you are eligible for vaccination and you are a patient of one of the state’s major health care systems, you will likely get notified by them when they have vaccine available for you. You will be invited to come in to their dedicated vaccine sites. Do not expect to be notified over the next couple of weeks unless you reside in one of the higher risk zip codes, typically high poverty zip codes. Will Brownsberger

The distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine is currently underway in Massachusetts. This post will describe eligibility requirements for each phase of the state’s distribution plan, and what we know about scheduling an appointment to get vaccinated. For additional information about the makeup of each eligible group, please refer to the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Timeline Phase Overview.

Phase One: December 2020 – February 2021

Groups eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase One include all healthcare workers, individuals living and working in long-term care facilities, first responders, and individuals living and working in congregate care facilities.

Phase Two: February – March 2021

While we are currently in Phase One of the state’s distribution plan, individuals aged 75 or older become eligible for a vaccine beginning on February 1 and may begin scheduling appointments on Wednesday, January 27 at 12:01 AM.

In addition to individuals aged 75 or older, groups eligible for vaccines in Phase Two include:

Phase Three: April 2021

The vaccine is expected to become available to the general public during Phase Three of the distribution plan. Once the vaccine is available to the general public, public vaccine clinics will become available on the CDC’s website, Vaccine Finder. Individuals will also be able to check in with their primary care providers, local pharmacies, or local health departments.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) does not plan to maintain a central sign-up or scheduling system for the vaccine.

Scheduling an Appointment

Regardless of when you become eligible to receive a vaccine, you must schedule an appointment in advance.

To schedule an appointment, you must visit the COVID Vaccine Map, which displays vaccine administration sites statewide. Click a star icon on the map to view information about scheduling an appointment for a particular administration site; you will be redirected to another website to complete the scheduling process.

The information contained in the map is also available as a downloadable list, for easier viewing; although you will still be directed to a second website to schedule an appointment.

Individuals must present proof of eligibility to receive the vaccine. Some sites require individuals to attest to their eligibility as part of the scheduling process. All other sites will accept the Commonwealth’s Self Attestation Form on the day of your appointment.

As vaccine production ramps up and stock increases, more administration sites will come online, and will be added to the state’s Vaccine Map.

DPH will release a weekly vaccination report every Thursday at 5 PM, including data about the number of doses of vaccine shipped and administered; the number of individuals vaccinated; the number of vaccine distributed by county; the age and race/ethnicity breakdowns of individuals receiving the vaccine; and vaccines administered by different types of providers.

This post will be updated as new information becomes available.

3 replies on “How to Get the Vaccine”

  1. We are both 80 years old and live in Watertown.
    We have tried several sites for vaccine appointments and none of them have any open slots through February. According to the state websites, and some of the sites we tried, today is the beginning of scheduling for us. The fact that nothing is available is beyond frustrating. Any suggestions?

  2. What we mostly need now is a directory to sites that have openings for appointments. Otherwise it’s like driving into a huge overcrowded parking garage and having to go floor by floor to find a parking space. Think of how miraculous new garages have become that have lighting systems directing you to empty parking spaces.

  3. Thank you so very much for the excellent information you always provide, Senator, and this is another example. I feel very lucky you are our representative, advocate, and liaison to these insights and activities.
    Having said this, I noted this sentence, “The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) does not plan to maintain a central sign-up or scheduling system for the vaccine.”

    How?! Why not?! Why would MA not have some central facility into which all participants (service providers, customers-of-vaccine, vaccine-delivery components, etc.) would converge for a one-stop central point of coordination? This flies in the face of any and all possible realms of solving this problem?
    If the United States of America has historically overcome the circumstances we have in the past, it is solely because we have come together, coordinated, and executed to the objective for the moment, single focus on achieving the success — and we have.
    Let me offer this as observation and horrifically tragic disappointment — towards offering also that it is not too late to reverse this state of affairs. I would say that Gov Baker has lost my vote as a result of this sad abdication of leadership. So sorry.

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