Caregivers accompanying older residents to COVID-19 vaccine appointments may also be vaccinated
Massachusetts officials say they will let caregivers who take people aged 75 and over for vaccinations request their own appointments to receive their first dose, even if they are not yet eligible.
Starting Wednesday, caregivers can sign up for a “companion appointment” as long as they can attest to being the caregiver of a vaccinated person, according to the COVID-19 command center. The caregiver must sign up for a separate appointment, and only one caregiver will be eligible to be vaccinated alongside the person 75 years of age or older.
Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders plans to make the announcement Wednesday morning at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Danvers, which is home to one of the state’s mass vaccination sites.
The state defines a “companion” as a family member, neighbor, or other trusted caregiver who takes the person to the immunization appointment.
Massachusetts is at the start of Phase 2, which allows residents aged 75 or older to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Elderly people with co-morbidities, teachers and other essential workers will also become eligible for the vaccine under Phase 2.
Wednesday’s announcement may be the first exception Massachusetts officials have made to get the shot as part of its deployment. The state, lagging behind its neighbors, has vaccinated just over a million residents since it began receiving shipments in mid-December.
The state plans to make available Thursday 74,000 appointments for its site, as well as 30,000 others in local pharmacies.
Massachusetts is also planning to launch two more venues, one at the Natick Mall and the other at the former Circuit City site in Dartmouth. Both sites will begin administering up to 500 doses per day and plan to increase to a cap of a few thousand per day.