Boston Mayor Wu Announces Benchmarks to Relax COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements

Boston will have to see certain metrics involving COVID-19 hospitalizations and positivity rate before city officials consider dropping vaccine requirements

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Boston Mayor Michelle Wu on Tuesday announced benchmark metrics officials will look for to determine when to lift the city's vaccine requirements.

Boston's B Together program requires proof of vaccination for certain indoor spaces, including restaurants, bars and nightclubs, gyms, and other indoor entertainment. The requirements went into effect in January.

Wu said Tuesday that the proof of vaccination requirement will be lifted when the following occurs:

  • Fewer than 95% of ICU beds are occupied
  • Fewer than 200 COVID-19 hospitalizations per day
  • A community positivity rate below 5%, as defined by the Boston Public Health Commission’s 7-day moving average

Wu warned that the Boston Health Commission will have the option of restoring vaccine requirements in the event of further surges.

Top Boston doctors talk about school mask mandates, returning to normalcy and preventive and therapeutic treatment on NBC10 Boston’s weekly “COVID Q&A” series.

"I’m encouraged by the current trends and grateful to the Boston Public Health Commission and all our partners for strong leadership to keep us heading in the right direction," Wu wrote in a media release. "The fastest way to help ensure we are relieving pressure on hospital capacity and driving down community positivity is to keep closing gaps with vaccination and boosters."

The latest data posted by the Boston Health Commission is available here. As of January 31, the seven-day moving average was at 10.6%. As of February 2, the city was averaging 477.7 hospitalizations per day, and 91.3% of adult non-surge ICU beds were occupied.

The state, which releases data daily Monday through Friday, has been seeing declines in its test positivity rate, case counts and hospitalizations in recent weeks after numbers surged in late December and early January, a peak health officials attribute in part to the omicron variant. Other municipalities in the state have been pulling back or considering pulling back on COVID-19 related safety restrictions, such as face mask mandates.

Massachusetts launched a digital COVID-19 vaccine card option in January to help people prove their vaccination status as more venues required it.

Health officials continue to encourage vaccination against COVID-19, including booster shots when eligible. For a full list of available vaccination sites in Boston, here

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