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Baker-Polito Administration asks to cancel travel as holiday guidance, vaccine update issued

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Photo courtesy of Charlie Baker

BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration announced updates on the Commonwealth’s distribution efforts of the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as well as new guidance from the Department of Public Health.

On Monday, the first doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine arrived in the Commonwealth. Four hospitals received 5,850 first doses on Monday.

Today, 53,625 more doses have begun to arrive to 17 more hospitals statewide.

Pending the approval of Moderna’s Emergency Use Authorization, the Commonwealth, based on federal guidance, has been told to anticipate 180,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 120,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine. In all, the Administration expects the Commonwealth to receive 300,000 doses by the end of December.

DPH places vaccine orders on behalf of the providers. From there, the vaccine is shipped to the hospital or facility directly from the manufacturer on behalf of the federal government.

When vaccination begins, hospitals report data into DPH, and DPH and the Command Center will launch a public dashboard to keep track of immunizations administered next week. Individuals with questions about what phase they can be vaccinated in can send an email to COVID-19-Vaccine-Plan-MA@mass.gov for prioritization clarifications.

Additionally, CVS and Walgreens will begin vaccinating in nursing homes the week of December 28th under the CDC’s Long-Term Care Pharmacy Partnership program. Their doses will come from the state’s Pfizer allocation, between 40,000 – 60,000 will be shipped to CVS and Walgreens for Massachusetts skilled nursing facilities.

Also, today, DPH released December Holiday Guidance to advise residents on how to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19 during holiday activities.

This year, the Commonwealth is asking residents to:

· Limit in-person celebrations to household members only

· Postpone or cancel travel this holiday season. If you do choose to travel, be aware of and comply with Massachusetts travel order requirements.

· Follow the current state gathering size limits and sector-specific workplace safety standards.

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