Informational Alert | Coronavirus Updates

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

Stay up to date with the latest updates and information on the COVID-19 Vaccine from the City and State.

MA Vaccine Website

Trust the Facts, Get the Vax.

Vaccines are safe and are one of the best ways to protect yourself and those around you from getting sick from COVID-19. The vaccine doesn’t contain the virus that causes COVID-19, so it can’t make you sick. You may experience mild side effects after getting the vaccine, but this is a sign that your body is learning how to protect you. Learn More.

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The Massachusetts Vaccine Scheduling Resource Line at 2-1-1 is available in English and Spanish and has translators available to support residents in approximately 100 additional languages. Please call 2-1-1 and follow prompts to reach The Massachusetts Vaccine Scheduling Resource Line.

The quickest and easiest way to schedule a vaccine appointment or check availability is to use the State's online system.

The CVS locations at 215 Alewife Brook Parkway and 624 Massachusetts Avenue in Central Square are listed by the State as sites offering the vaccine in Cambridge. If you're eligible, you can try to book an appointment to receive your vaccine at these locations, however, the State is reporting limited availability and asking residents to be patient as it may take several weeks to get an appointment.

More appointments will be available based on supply from the Federal Government and will be added to the State's website on a rolling basis.

Please do not accept calls offering assistance from someone you do not know or do not trust to take you to a vaccination appointment. And remember, you can’t pay to put your name on a list to get the vaccine and no one reaching out to you about the vaccine should ask for your social security number, bank account, or credit card numbers.

If you have tried scheduling your appointment online and need assistance, please call The Massachusetts Vaccine Scheduling Resource Line at 2-1-1 for help.

Current Status

All Phase 1 Groups and Phase 2, Group 1 Individuals Age 75+ are eligible for vaccination.

As of February 18, 2021 the following Phase 2, Group 2 populations are now eligible:

Information will be updated as we receive it, and more information from the state can be found here.

NOTE: Due to high demand and constrained vaccine supply, COVID-19 Vaccination appointments are currently limited. More appointments will be available based on supply from the Federal Government. Appointments will be added on a rolling basis.

MA Vaccine Phase Status
Phase 2 Group 2 Vaccine Eligibility Chart

The COVID-19 Response Command Center has been working with health care providers, local officials, pharmacies and others to set up additional COVID-19 vaccination sites across the Commonwealth, with a focus on accessibility and geographic equity.

NOTE: Due to high demand and constrained vaccine supply, COVID-19 Vaccination appointments are currently limited. More appointments will be available based on supply from the Federal Government. Appointments will be added on a rolling basis.

How To Use The Interactive Map?

Follow the steps here:
  1. Click the icon in the top left with the arrow to view a list of locations
  2. Click on a map pin for hours, contact information, and sign up details
Color Guide:
Red starMass Vaccination Sites (high volume, large venue sites)
Green starGeneral Vaccination Sites (healthcare locations)
Blue starGeneral Vaccination Sites (pharmacy/grocery locations)
Yellow starLocal Vaccination Sites (open to select cities/towns)

All Phase 1 Groups and Phase 2, Group 1 Individuals Age 75+ are eligible for vaccination.

As of February 18, 2021 the following Phase 2, Group 2 populations are now eligible:

2021

When Can I Get A COVID-19 Vaccine In MA?

  • DEC
  • JAN
  • FEB

PHASE ONE

  • Clinical and non-clinical healthcare workers doing direct and COVID-facing care
  • Long term care facilities, rest homes and assisted living facilities
  • First responders
    (EMS, Fire, Police)
  • Congregate care settings (including corrections and shelters)
  • Healthcare workers doing non-COVID-facing care
  • Home-based healthcare workers
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR

PHASE TWO

  • Individuals with 2+ comorbidities (high risk for COVID-19 complications), Individuals age 75+, and residents and staff of public and private low income and affordable senior housing
  • Early education and K-12 workers, transit, grocery, utility, food and agriculture, sanitation, public workers and public health workers
  • Individuals with one comorbidity
  • Adults 65+
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN

PHASE THREE

  • Vaccine available to general public
For more information on vaccine distribution visit Mass.gov/COVIDvaccine

Safety

The City of Cambridge and the Cambridge Public Health Department recognize that there are many questions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.

While a COVID-19 vaccine is crucial to fully mitigate the spread of, and ultimately wipe out, this pandemic, we must remain vigilant and continue 1) mask wearing, 2) physical distancing, and 3) good hand hygiene. Getting the vaccine is a good thing, but it does not mean that we can let our guard down and stop these important COVID-19 mitigation practices.

Sadly, there has been a great deal of misinformation and harmful allegations regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. These unfounded claims may cause unnecessary worry and hesitation among some in our community.

The available COVID-19 vaccines are approved and recommended by the FDA and the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices following standard testing and approval processes. By prioritizing resources and efforts, the vaccines were developed quickly and never at the expense of safety. More vaccine safety information is available in this flyer and at mass.gov/COVIDVaccineSafety

The Cambridge Public Health Department has provided the following "Frequently Asked Questions," created from a variety of reputable sources, which can help us all do our part to learn more and debunk untrue and dangerous claims. The below are current as of February 2, 2021. Please visit Massachusetts COVID-19 Vaccine Information for the most up-to-date information.

Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions

The COVID-19 vaccines were developed so fast. Are they safe?

Yes, the vaccines are safe.

  • All the standard safety rules were followed for making the vaccines.
  • The two vaccines being used in Massachusetts have been tested with many people (across different age groups, countries of origin, races and ethnicities).

This is how the vaccines were made so quickly:

  • Scientists have been studying coronaviruses for over 50 years, so they knew a lot about them.
  • The type of vaccines used (called mRNA vaccines) have been used in cancer vaccine studies for many years. This gave scientists a head start.
  • Many scientists all over the world worked on this together.
  • Companies usually wait until all of the studies are complete, and then they start making vaccines. With the COVID-19 vaccine, they started making the vaccines much sooner. As soon as the vaccines were found to be safe, the companies were able to ship them to the states.

Will I be able to get vaccinated?

Yes, all Cambridge residents will be able to get vaccinated. Because there is not enough vaccine for everyone right away, you’ll need to wait your turn.

Will my children be able to get vaccinated?

Vaccine safety trials for children are not yet done. Children will be able to get vaccinated once vaccines are approved for them.

When can I get vaccinated?

People in Massachusetts will be vaccinated in three phases:

Phase 1 (started January 2021):

  • Health care workers
  • First responders like police, firefighters and ambulance staff
  • People in long-term care facilities, senior housing, and other group living situations

Phase 2 (started February 2021):

  • People who are 75 years or older
    • A caregiver bringing a person 75+ to a mass vaccination site may also be vaccinated. Both people must register in advance. Some other sites may not allow a caregiver to receive a vaccine
  • People who are 65 years or older
  • People with 2 or more of the following health problems:
    • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
    • Cancer
    • Chronic kidney disease
    • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
    • Down Syndrome
    • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
    • Weakened immune system from organ transplant
    • Obesity (BMI >30) or Severe Obesity (BMI >40)
    • Pregnancy
    • Sickle cell disease
    • Smoking
    • Type 2 Diabetes
  • People who work in certain essential jobs (for example: employees in grocery stores, restaurants, schools, transportation).

Phase 3: Vaccines will be available for the general public, meaning all adults in Cambridge. This phase is not expected to start until April of 2021 and will last for several months.

For the full vaccination schedule for Massachusetts, please visit the state’s website.

Where can I get vaccinated? How do I sign up?

People in Massachusetts will be able to get vaccinated at large public vaccine clinics, pharmacies, local health departments, and primary care providers.

  • When it is your turn to get vaccinated, you can go to vaxfinder.mass.gov to find an appointment near you to sign up for. For example:
    • Large clinics at Gillette Stadium, Fenway Park
    • Many CVS and Walgreens pharmacies
  • If you cannot use a computer to sign up for a vaccine appointment, and you are in a group that is eligible for a vaccine, you can call the state’s hotline at 2-1-1 for help signing up over the phone.
  • Some hospitals and health care organizations will let patients know when they can make an appointment to get vaccinated

The City of Cambridge sends out email updates about COVID-19, including vaccines. You can sign up to receive these updates here.

How will I know when it’s my turn to be vaccinated?

There are several ways to learn when it’s your turn:

What if I miss my turn to get vaccinated?

Don’t worry! If you are in a group that can get the vaccine in Phase 1 or 2 and you miss your turn, you will still be able to get your vaccine.

Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I have a history of allergic reactions?

If you have had an immediate allergic reaction - even if it was not severe - to a vaccine or injectable medication, ask your doctor if you should get a COVID-19 vaccine.

If you have allergies not related to vaccines or injectable medications - such as food, pet, venom, environmental or latex allergies - the CDC recommends that you get vaccinated. People with a history of allergies to oral medications may also get vaccinated.

Are there side effects of a COVID-19 vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccine can cause mild side effects after the first or second dose, including:

  • Pain, redness or swelling where the shot was given
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Joint pain

These reactions mean the vaccine is working to help teach your body how to fight COVID-19 if you are exposed. Most side effects happen within the first three days after you get the vaccine and last only one to two days.

The COVID-19 vaccine can cause an allergic reaction right after getting the vaccine, but very rarely. That’s why people are watched for 15 or 30 minutes after they receive the vaccine to make sure that they are not allergic.

Is the vaccine free?

The vaccine is being offered for free by the federal government. Doctors and insurance companies are not allowed to ask patients to pay for the vaccine.

Do I still need to wear a mask, social distance and practice good hand washing if I have received two doses of the vaccine?

Yes. We know that getting the vaccine protects you from getting sick from COVID-19. But we don’t know yet if you can still spread the virus to others.

  • Wearing a mask in public, when visiting friends or family, or when someone in your house is sick is now more important than ever with the increased spread of new COVID-19 variants
  • Even after you get the vaccine, you need to cover your mouth and nose with a mask, wash hands often, and stay at least 6 feet away from others.
  • It is very important that we all continue to do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19

Can the vaccine give me COVID-19?

No, the vaccine does not cause COVID-19. None of the approved COVID-19 vaccines were made with the virus.

If I had COVID-19, do I still need the shot?

We think that having COVID-19 will protect you from getting it again, but it is not sure for how long. That’s why people who have had COVID-19 should still get the vaccine. They should have completed isolation and have no symptoms of COVID-19 before getting the vaccine.

Will the shot hurt or make me sick?

Some people might get sore muscles, feel tired, or have mild fever after getting the vaccine. These reactions mean the vaccine is working to help teach your body how to fight COVID-19 if you are exposed. For most people, these side effects will last no longer than a few days. If you have any concerns, call your doctor or nurse.

Why do I need two COVID-19 shots?

The current COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) require two shots for you to have full protection.

Is there anyone who should not get a COVID-19 vaccine?

There is no COVID-19 vaccine yet for children under age 16. Several companies have begun enrolling children as young as age 12 in COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials. Studies including younger children will begin soon.

COVID-19 vaccination might not be recommended for people with certain health conditions. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about getting the vaccine.

Can I get the vaccine if I am pregnant or breastfeeding? Is it safe for me to get a COVID-19 vaccine if I would like to get pregnant in the future?

The FDA allows pregnant women to receive the vaccine.

  • Pregnant women were not studied in the vaccine trials. If you are pregnant, you should talk about the vaccine with your health provider.
  • If you are breastfeeding, you can still get the vaccine and do not need to stop breastfeeding.

People who want to get pregnant in the future may receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

  • Based on current knowledge, experts believe that COVID-19 vaccines are unlikely to pose a risk to a person trying to become pregnant, either now or in the future.
  • Like other vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccines are being studied carefully and will continue to be studied for many years.
  • There is no evidence suggesting that fertility problems are a side effect of ANY vaccine.

Does the vaccine contain eggs, pork (or other animal) products or gluten?

The COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) being used currently in Massachusetts do not have any:

  • Eggs, pork (or other) animal products or gluten
  • Antibiotics
  • Blood products
  • DNA
  • Fetal material
  • Microchips
  • Preservatives
  • Soy

Will the vaccine change my DNA?

No. The COVID-19 vaccines currently being used in Massachusetts are “messenger RNA (mRNA)” vaccines.

  • mRNA vaccines work by telling your body how to make a protein that helps you stay safe from the virus (this is called immunity).
  • Injecting mRNA into your body will not do anything to your DNA. Your body will break down and get rid of the mRNA soon after it has been injected.

More information on how mRNA vaccines work can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Can undocumented immigrants get the vaccine?

Yes. The vaccine is free for all Massachusetts residents, including undocumented immigrants. Health insurance (including Medicare and Medicaid) will cover the cost of the vaccine for insured patients. People who do not have insurance will not be required to pay.

Will the vaccine work against new COVID-19 variants, like the one from the United Kingdom?

It is normal for viruses to change as they spread, and for new variants (or types) of viruses to appear. Scientists are working to learn more about new COVID-19 types -- including if the vaccines we have -- will protect against them.

Updates

Latest updates related to the COVID-19 Vaccine from the City and State.

More Information

Additional information on the COVID-19 Vaccine from the City and State.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has an active inter-agency working group working to ensure an equitable and speedy distribution of COVID-19 vaccine to Massachusetts communities. View the latest vaccine updates in MA, including the vaccine prioritization plan, frequently asked questions, and information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and American Academy of Pediatrics, have put together additional Frequently Asked Questions about the vaccine which can be found as follows:

To help older residents get to their vaccine appointments, the State announced that individuals who accompany someone age 75 or older to get a vaccine at a mass vaccination site may also schedule and receive their own vaccination on the same day. They should go to mass.gov/covidvaccine and schedule two separate appointments at either the same time or adjacent. For the companion appointment, select the option ‘I am accompanying someone who is age 75+ to their vaccination appointment and my appointment is the same day.’ Transportation to vaccination sites is also available for elderly residents through Cambridge-Somerville Elder Services (SCES). For more information about the SCES vaccination transportation program, or to register for a ride, call SCES at 617-628-2601 or email info@eldercare.org.

Questions

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