Governor Charlie Baker on Wednesday announced a timeline for remaining residents to get vaccinated, with the general public becoming eligible on April 19.
“We all know that the anxiety that’s created by this process can be stressful for many people, and we hope that this clarity will help everybody plan ahead and know what to expect when,’ Baker said.
He said that the state “remains on track to meet those original milestones” announced in December that said the general population would be eligible to receive the vaccine by the end of April or beginning of May.
On March 22, all residents age 60 and older and “certain workers,” such as restaurant workers, grocery and convenience store workers, transportation workers, public works employees, and others, will be eligible. For the full list of eligible workers, visit mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-vaccinations-for-certain-workers.
On April 5, residents age 55 and older and those with “one certain medical condition” will be eligible, and on April 19, the general public aged 16 and older will be eligible.
Baker said that the state is “taking an additional step” to “prioritize” those 60 and older and then those 55 and older because there is a “very strong and important correlation between COVID and age.”
He said that “we believe adding these groups by age will help us vaccinate more of our most vulnerable population faster.”
Though everyone over the age of 16 will be eligible by April 19, the governor said that it could “still take several weeks” for enough vaccine to arrive for everyone, as appointments are dependent on the federal supply of the vaccine.
He said that the state’s vaccination sites “have the ability to administer far more doses than we’re actually receiving.”
For this coming week, Massachusetts will be receiving about 170,000 first doses, including 8,000 “unanticipated” doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Baker said.
He said that the large number of hospitals and health centers across the state that have been working to administer the vaccine is a huge reason why Massachusetts is a leader in the nation on vaccine distribution. The state remains in the “top 10 among all 50 states for vaccines being administered,” Baker said.
“Having so many sites across Massachusetts ensures that everybody will have access to a vaccine when it’s their turn,” Baker said. “The news about the arrival of more vaccine from the federal government means we will be able to move faster to get doses to our residents, and this is long overdue and welcome. We’re all eager to get back to something like normal and see our friends and loved ones again.”
He added that the “vaccines can’t come fast enough,” but people still need to take all of the precautions that they have been, such as mask wearing, avoiding large gatherings, and washing hands, as “COVID is still very much with us,” Baker said. Baker also said that all residents can now preregister for their vaccine at mass.gov/COVIDvaccine. While the tool is currently only for the state’s seven mass vaccination sites, Baker said that more sites are expected to be added in April.