Nearly one million people are considered fully vaccinated against the coronavirus in Massachusetts, according to health officials, as the state prepares to enter its final phase of reopening.
As of Monday, 914,927 people were fully vaccinated, according to the Department of Public Health's latest COVID-19 Vaccine Data report. But officials are still working to fight the spread of the virus amid a growing number of reported cases of various strains.
“The message is that we can’t let our guard down," said Dr. Michael Misialek of Newton-Wellesley Hospital. "We’ve come a long way and there is still the pandemic ongoing out there.”
Safety measures including masks, social distancing and getting vaccinated are the best way to fight back, experts say.
Meanwhile, Massachusetts is expected to move into Phase 4, Step 1 Monday, which will allow indoor and outdoor stadiums, ballparks and arenas to operate at 12% capacity, among other relaxed restrictions. Venues will be required to submit a plan to the Department of Public Health.
Next week, fans will be in the stands at the TD Garden for the first time in more than a year.
“It’s definitely going to be odd because I anticipate being able to hear the coaches, hear the players," Celtics season ticket holder Jake Flannery said. “We have to sign a safety waiver of some sort, like a safety promise. You have to read all of the rules and regulations and wear your mask at all times.”
Also effective March 22, gathering limits for event venues and in public settings will increase to 100 people indoors and 150 people outdoors. Outdoor gatherings at private residences and in private backyards will remain at a maximum of 25 people, with indoor house gatherings remaining at 10 people.
The state moved into Phase 3, Step 2 of the four-phased reopening on March 1, and Gov. Charlie Baker has said that provided public health metrics continue to improve all communities in Massachusetts will move into Phase 4, Step 1 on March 22.