People age 75 or older have been moved higher up in the order of Massachusetts’ coronavirus vaccination plan, officials said Monday, as they released details on when the next group to get the vaccines, first responders, will be able to get them.
The 75-plus age group is now part of Phase 2, Group 1 in the rollout, joining people with two co-morbid conditions as those considered at high risk for complications from COVID-19, Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders said at a news conference. The change affects about 170,000 people.
They had previously been listed later in Phase 2. (See Massachusetts’ full COVID vaccine timeline here.)
But the next set of people who will receive the vaccine are first responders, who can begin being vaccinated starting next Monday, Jan. 11, Gov. Charlie Baker said at the news conference.
There are three options for getting the vaccine, outlined on the state’s first responder vaccination website.
This is a breaking news story that will be updated.
Gov. Charlie Baker is providing an update on the state’s coronavirus response Monday as Massachusetts deals with surging COVID-19 cases.
Baker was slated to hold the news conference at 12:30 p.m. It’s his first of the new year.
Health officials on Sunday announced 3,110 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 105 additional deaths as the number of patients hospitalized with coronavirus across Massachusetts continues to increase. The number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 has increased again, to 2,291.
The first patients at the state’s new coronavirus field hospital at UMass Lowell were set to arrive Monday morning. The hospital is expected to lessen the burden inside Lowell General Hospital and other nearby medical facilities treating COVID-19 patients.
The scheduled remarks come amid scrutiny nationwide over the slow rollout of coronavirus vaccines.
Despite some bumps in the road in the COVID-19 vaccine distribution process, Baker said last week he still anticipates Massachusetts will receive the 300,000 doses it originally expected by the end of the year and that the state’s vaccine rollout timeline should remain on track.
Baker said his administration plans to provide more information this week about vaccinating first responders.
Governor Charlie Baker said that residents need to stay safe as we go into a new year.
Firefighters have criticized the intended approach for first-responder vaccination, saying that local boards of health “are not structurally prepared” for it. Baker said the ultimate approach will need to work from an administrative and data-reporting perspective, and take into account that communities structure their public safety programs in different ways.
Baker’s new coronavirus restrictions took effect last month in Massachusetts. They include a crack down on gatherings and businesses and a requirement that hospitals halt most elective surgeries.
Starting Dec. 26 and running until at least noon on Jan. 10, restaurants, movie theaters, performance venues, casinos, offices, places of worship, retail businesses, fitness centers, health clubs, libraries, golf facilities, driving and flight schools, arcades, museums, and “sectors not otherwise addressed” must limit their customer capacity to a maximum of 25%.
Beginning Saturday, Massachusetts businesses will only be able to operate at 25% capacity, down from 40%. The gathering limit is also being reduced to 10 people inside and 25 outside under Gov. Charlie Baker’s latest round of restrictions.
All indoor gatherings and events will be limited to 10 people, while all outdoor gatherings and events will be limited to 25 people. Workers and staff are excluded from events’ occupancy counts. The gatherings limit applies to private homes, event venues and public spaces.
Massachusetts hospitals must push back or cancel most elective inpatient invasive procedures that are nonessential as well, the state has announced.