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Baker-Polito Administration Announces Employer Vaccination Program, Extension of Targeted free COVID-19 Testing Sites, Provides Weekly Dose Updates
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 12, 2021
The Baker-Polito Administration announced today the Commonwealth’s Employer Vaccination Program, which will allow Massachusetts employers options to easily and conveniently vaccinate their employees.
All detailed information on this program can be found at www.mass.gov/EmployerVaccine. This webpage includes a link to a form that employers should submit to request appointments. There is no financial cost to the employer.
There are two main options for employers:
Option 1: Group appointments at mass vaccination sites.
This is the quickest and easiest option. Appointments will be scheduled starting Monday, May 17, 2021. Employers can request a block of appointments at any of the Commonwealth’s 7 mass vaccination sites.
Employers can help register employees for their appointments or the Commonwealth will provide an employer with links to share with employees so they can sign up during the block of appointments. The minimum number of appointments required is 10 and there is no maximum limit.
Registration requires simple demographic information – insurance and identification are not required at the time of registration or appointment, if not available. Employers can set up a table or kiosk onsite to have an onsite presence for employees which can be coordinated with the site operator after submitting a request.
These sites are easy, fast, and convenient. Most vaccination appointments take less than 30 minutes, including the 15-minute observation period. Employers can request a block of appointments for their employees to be vaccinated on a specific day/time. Employers or employees will be responsible for transportation to and from the vaccination site.
Sites are available 7 days a week, hours vary by site/day. Extensive accessibility accommodations are available and additional special accommodations may be made available upon request (e.g., interpreters). This option will be available through June 30, 2021, with first dose appointments available through June 11, 2021.
For more information on how to book group appointments and to submit an official request form, visit the employer vaccination page at mass.gov/employervaccine. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.
Option 2: Mobile on-site employer vaccination clinic
Employers who have confirmed that 35 or more employees will obtain a vaccination at the employer pop-up clinic may request a mobile, on-site, vaccination clinic. A vaccination provider will come on-site to the employer host-property to vaccinate individuals and return 3-4 weeks later to deliver 2nd doses. Employers must survey employees and confirm participation prior to requesting a clinic.
In order to schedule an on-site clinic, employers will need to provide:
Employer clinics will be scheduled and prioritized based upon number of individuals getting vaccinated and location of the clinic. Employers located in communities with vaccination rates below the state average will be prioritized. On-site clinics will begin as soon as Monday, May 17, 2021.
All details on employer vaccinations options and requirements can be found at www.mass.gov/employervaccine
Additionally, we encourage all employers to remind their employees of the importance of getting vaccinated and of the availability of more than 900 locations across the state. For more information, please check the state’s website at www.mass.gov/covidvaccine.
Weekly Dose Update
This week, the Commonwealth received 245,460 first and second doses as part of the state allocation. These figures do not include doses provided directly from the federal government to the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) or Community Vaccination Center (CVC).
This week, first doses and second dose state allocations (total doses), were distributed among providers as follows:
Health systems and health care providers (excluding community health centers): 81,890
Regional Collaboratives and Local Boards of Health: 57,720
Mass vaccination locations: 97,250
Community Health Centers state allocation only: 7,100
Mobile Clinics supporting long-term care facilities, congregate care, affordable/low-income senior housing and homebound individuals: 1,500
Weekly allocations are subject to change based on federal availability, demand from providers, and obligations to meet second doses. Providers have 10 days to use their doses and must meet specific performance thresholds.
In addition to the state allocation, the federal government has increased its distribution of vaccines to CVS Health sites as part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Partnership as well as to certain Massachusetts federally qualified community health centers. These quantities fluctuate on a weekly basis and are not counted as part of the state’s weekly allocation but represent an increasing allocation to selected locations.
This week, 112,240 first and second doses were allocated to the retail pharmacy program.
FQHCs received 30,200 doses directly from the Federal Government.
The Community Vaccination Clinic at the Hynes Convention Center was allocated 42,120 doses.
Extension of Stop the Spread Testing Initiative:
The “Stop the Spread” COVID-19 initiative, which provides free COVID-19 testing in 35 locations across the Commonwealth and was set to close on June 30, 2021 has been extended through September 30, 2021.
Building on Massachusetts’ nation-leading COVID-19 testing program, state-sponsored testing will continue to be available to all Massachusetts residents at no cost to them through September 30, 2021 Testing is one of the important public health tools, in addition to contact tracing, complying with public health mitigation measures and getting vaccinated, to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Since the state began this free virus testing in July 2020, more than 2.3 million tests have been conducted at “Stop the Spread” locations as of March 3, 2021. Meanwhile, the total number of COVID-19 tests conducted state-wide at all testing providers since the pandemic began is more than 22 million.
The Stop the Spread initiative is a data-driven effort to reduce the prevalence of COVID-19 in communities across the Commonwealth. All state residents may visit the locations even if they do not reside in the town or city where the testing is being conducted.
The statewide 7-day average of percent positivity for COVID-19 of individuals tested as reported on Monday, May 10th, was 1.26%.
Residents of the state may visit the following website to find testing locations: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/find-a-covid-19-test. Additional information about COVID-19 testing, including why testing is important and what you should do if your test is positive, can be found at www.mass.gov/GetTested.