Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday announced a timeline for when Massachusetts residents who have not received a COVID-19 vaccination shot will be able to sign up, starting with residents 60 years and older as well as many front-line workers.
In a press release, Baker said those groups would be eligible for vaccination shots starting Monday. Frontline workers newly eligible for the appointments include restaurant workers, grocery and convenience store workers, public transit workers and those who work in the court system.
On April 5, eligibility will be expanded to those 55 years and older and those with one co-morbidity, Baker said in a press conference. On April 19, vaccination appointments will be opened to any resident 16 years or older.
On April 5, eligibility will be expanded to those 55 years and older and those with one co-morbidity. Finally, on April 19, vaccination appointments will be opened to any resident 16 years or older.
Baker said the state was able to move forward with the timeline because his administration has been assured by the Biden administration that the state will soon begin to receive more vaccine doses soon. The governor added that vaccines arriving at pharmacies and community health centers were promising.
"The news about the arrival of more vaccines from the federal government means we'll be able to move faster to get doses to our residents and this is long overdue and welcome," Baker said. "We're all eager to get back to something like normal."
Baker said the state is slated to receive 316,000 vaccine doses from the federal government for sites across the state. Some 170,000 of those will be first dose vaccines; and 8,000 are single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
Baker warned, however, that due to limited, it could take weeks after preregistering for an appointment to become available.
The full timeline is available at mass.gov/COVIDVaccinePhases.
Officials also announced the arrival of $27.4 million in federal funds to increase trust in vaccines and bolster efforts to vaccinate people in communities hit hardest by the pandemic.
The moves come a week after the Baker administration launched a new vaccine preregistration system, and as President Joe Biden is directing all states to make all adults, ages 18 and up, eligible for the coronavirus vaccines by May 1.
Baker had repeatedly said that the limits on the state's ability to vaccinate more groups has to do with supply, not capacity. Officials said Tuesday they were told by the White House to expect 170,000 doses this week, up from 150,000 last week.
Massachusetts is currently in Phase 2 of its three-phase vaccine rollout plan, and currently eligible are people age 75 or older, people 65 or older with at least two qualifying medical conditions, child care workers and K-12 educators and school staff.
Remaining groups to become eligible include other "essential workers," such as transit and grocery employees, residents with one underlying health risk, and then the general public.
People who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated can nevertheless preregister now for an appointment at one of Massachusetts' mass vaccination sites. Booking for other locations providing vaccines, like boards of health and pharmacies, is available through the state's VaxFinder website.
Nearly a million people in Massachusetts are considered fully vaccinated against the virus -- 946,306 as of Tuesday afternoon's update from the Department of Public Health. Just over 87% of all vaccine doses shipped to the state have been administered, with nearly 800,000 people who've gotten the first dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine awaiting a second dose.
Massachusetts public health officials reported 1,018 new confirmed coronavirus cases Tuesday, bringing the total above 570,000, along with 16 more deaths.
Since the pandemic began, 16,355 people lost their lives to the virus, a fatality rate of roughly 2.87 percent. In all, 16,688 people in Massachusetts have died of confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19.