COVID-19 Vaccines, Scams and More!
We are still wearing masks and keeping our distance due to COVID-19, but the population is creeping toward herd immunity with the help of vaccines. As of March 4, 1,868,847 vaccine doses had been administered in Massachusetts. Currently, people in Phase 1, individuals age 75 and older, individuals age 65-74, individuals with 2 or more comorbidities (particular medical conditions), teachers, and residents and staff of low income and affordable senior housing are eligible for the vaccine. If you are a little nervous about getting one of the vaccines, you can find information about them at here.
Making an appointment has been difficult, with people trying for hours on end to secure a spot. Beginning March 12, you can preregister for an appointment at one of the mass vaccination centers, which include Gillette Stadium, Fenway Park (moving to Hynes Convention Center March 27), Reggie Lewis Center, Danvers DoubleTree Hotel, Natick Mall, Eastfield Mall (Springfield) and the former Circuit City in Dartmouth. This does not include pharmacies, hospitals, or local community centers. Preregistering will place you on a list to be notified when an appointment is available for you. Once notified, you will have 24 hours to schedule an appointment. When you preregister, you will need to provide your name, address, date of birth, contact information, preferred method of communication (email, text, phone) and information about eligibility (living situation, medical conditions, occupations). If you sign up before you are eligible, you will not be offered appointments until you are eligible. If you are unable to access a computer, call 211 for assistance. For more information on preregistration, click here. To register now, go to https://vaccinesignup.mass.gov/#/
Once you have been fully vaccinated (2 weeks after the second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or 2 weeks after the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine), you do not need a mask to visit indoors with other fully vaccinated people or with unvaccinated people from one other household (visiting relatives who all live together) unless any of those people has a high risk for severe illness from COVID-19. You should still wear a mask, stay at least 6 feet apart from others, and avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces when you are in public, with unvaccinated people from more than one household, or visiting an unvaccinated person who is high-risk. Medium and large-sized gatherings and domestic and international travel are not recommended yet. If you do travel, you need to follow CDC requirements and recommendations. You also need to continue to follow any workplace requirements. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, be sure to get tested and stay away from others. For more details about the guidelines, click here.
Sadly, some people are taking advantage of people who want the vaccine. The vaccine is free. Do not provide any money or information to anyone who asks you to pay for an appointment or the vaccine. You can only get the vaccine at approved locations, so do not trust anyone who offers to ship it to you. If you believe you have been the victim of COVID-19 fraud or someone tries to scam you, contact the Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-HHS-TIPS, the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI, or Centers for Medicaid/Medicare Hotline at 1-800-Medicare.
It has been a year since the world changed due to COVID, and we have learned a lot about the disease, how it spreads, affects people, mutates, and how we can slow it down. There is still much to learn about long-term symptoms and how long immunity lasts. For the latest information, visit coronavirus.gov, the CDC, or Mass.gov. For Lowell-specific information, visit lowellma.gov/coronavirus.