On June 18th, the CDC expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility standards to include everyone 6 months and older. Following federal precedent, all people 6 months and older who live, work or study in Massachusetts are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. ID and insurance are not required. Individuals should receive the following vaccines according to their age:
- 6 months-5 years can receive Pfizer or Moderna vaccines
- 6-17 years can receive a Pfizer vaccine
- 18 years and older can receive any vaccine
You can read the CDC’s childhood dosage recommendations on their website.
In addition, the CDC has updated their vaccine recommendations for immunocompromised children 6 months and older. For a timeline of when and which vaccines immune compromised children should receive, please refer to these guidelines. To find a vaccination site click here: https://vaxfinder.mass.gov/. Additional information on the COVID-19 vaccine can be found here.
Parents can book a vaccine appointment for their children at vaxfinder.mass.gov. Parents who prefer that their children receive the vaccine from their primary care provider should contact their provider’s office directly. State sponsored vaccine clinics offer low-sensory vaccination experiences for children with sensory issues or disabilities. For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine for children and vaccination options in Massachusetts, click here.
All Massachusetts residents 5 years and older are also eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster. Adolescents 5-17 can receive the Pfizer booster 5 months after receiving their initial Pfizer vaccine series. Residents 18 years and older remain eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster 5 months after receiving their 2nd dose of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine or 2 months after receiving their 1st dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Like the COVID-19 vaccine, you do not need to provide proof of ID or health insurance in order to receive a booster. For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine and booster visit: https://www.mass.gov/covid-19-vaccine
The CDC also now recommends that people 50 years and older and certain immune compromised individuals receive an additional COVID-19 booster 4 months after their initial booster. Those 50 years and up can receive a second Pfizer or Moderna booster, while immune compromised people 12 years and older can receive a Pfizer booster, and similarly immune compromised people 18 years and older can receive a Moderna booster.
To protect against the spread of COVID-19 and variants, the CDC continues to recommend getting vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible and that individuals 2 years or older continue to wear well-fitting masks in indoor public settings where there is a high risk of transmission. The CDC’s full list of recommendations to protect yourself and others can be found on their website
Unvaccinated individuals are encouraged to continue wearing masks when not in their own homes. Anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or come in close contact with someone who tested positive is required to follow CDC isolation and quarantine guidelines, including wearing a mask in public 5 days or more after leaving isolation. The full advisory is available to read online.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health continues to advise fully vaccinated individuals to wear a mask or face covering when in indoor public spaces if they meet any of the following:
- If they have weakened immune system
- If they are at increased risk for severe disease because of age or an underlying medical condition
- If they or someone in their household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease or is unvaccinated
The mask mandate for airplanes and other forms of public transportation has been lifted. However, the CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks in indoor public transportation settings to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Masks are no longer required to be worn on MBTA vehicles and properties, however customers using the RIDE must continue to mask up. MassPort, likewise, no longer requires masks in airports, Conley Terminal, and on the Logan Express service. You can read the full announcement here.
The CDC also launched a tool to help communities decide what precautions to take to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, based on local transmission rates and data. The COVID-19 Community Level tool can be accessed here.
The CDC has updated its quarantine guidelines for anyone who has been exposed to or tested positive for COVID-19. You can read the full list of recommended quarantine behavior on their website. Here is a brief rundown:
- If you were exposed to COVID-19 and are not up to date on vaccinations
- Quarantine for at least 5 days and continue to watch for symptoms up to 10 days from the time of exposure
- If you were exposed to COVID-19 and are up to date with vaccines
- You do not need to quarantine unless you develop symptoms
- Continue to watch for symptoms up to 10 days from the time of exposure
- If you were exposed to COVID-19 and had confirmed COVID-19 within the past 90 days
- You do not need to quarantine unless you develop symptoms
- Continue to watch for symptoms until 10 days after you were first exposed
- If you develop symptoms isolate and get tested immediately
- If you tested positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms, regardless of vaccine status
- Quarantine for at least 5 days and continue to take precautions until day 10 after testing positive
- If you were severely ill, quarantine for 10 full days and contact your doctor prior to ending isolation
Massachusetts has downsized its “Stop the Spread” testing sites to 11 locations. The 11 “Stop the Spread” sites that continue to remain open include:
- Lawrence (2 locations)
- New Bedford
- Springfield (2 locations)
Testing at these locations are free to Massachusetts residents. Proof of insurance and ID are not required.
The Peabody Institute Library is hosting weekly walk-in COVID-19 vaccine clinics from 3-7pm through the spring 2022 for North Shore residents, and is offering Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines and boosters. This was made possible through the collaboration of the City of Peabody, the Peabody Health Department and Mass General Brigham. Contact the Peabody Health Department at 978-538-5926 if you have any questions.
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) announced their plans to phase out the state-run K-12 testing program in schools through fall of 2022. Schools will continue to have access to state provided self-tests for symptomatic testing throughout the summer. However, beginning in fall of 2022 the “state will no longer supply self-tests or other COVID testing services to schools and districts.” DESE’s full memorandum is available to read online.
The mask order for all Massachusetts K-12 public schools and licensed childcare providers was lifted February 28th, 2022. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Department of Early Education and Care first announced this change in policy on February 9th. Masking in schools is now a community choice across the Commonwealth, with school districts capable of establishing their own local requirements.
In February, the CDC also lifted the mask mandate for K-12 transportation, announcing that people are no longer required to wear masks when riding in “buses or vans operated by public private school systems, including early care and education/child care programs.” The choice to require students to wear masks on school buses and other forms of transportation remains up to the discretion of local school systems.