BOSTON – One caregiver can now accompany a person age 75 and older to a mass vaccination site and also receive a vaccination.
Gov. Charlie D. Baker announced the change Wednesday during a televised press conference from a vaccination site at the Double Tree hotel in Danvers.
Baker said having a caregiver – who can be a family member or trusted friend – accompany the resident is expected to reduce hesitation at receiving the vaccine at a mass site and increase vaccinations.
Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said for some people, especially someone elderly, trying to navigate a visit alone to any doctor’s visit or vaccination location can be daunting, let alone a mass vaccination site.
Sudders said having a caregiver present can ease the anxiety some older residents feel. In addition, she said the Eastfield Mall site in Springfield is among the sites that offer accessibility.
“They have accessible parking, restrooms and seating,” she said. “They also have wheelchairs.”
The site also has numerous appointments available.
Sudders said the staff at the mass vaccination sites are physicians, nurses and other medical professionals and volunteers.
Baker said for anyone having difficulty making an online appointment, they should call 211 to speak to someone who can help.
Sudders noted that anyone 75 and older and their accompanying caregiver, who does not need to meet the current phase eligibility, both need to make appointments and once they arrive on site should remain in their vehicle until 15 minutes before their appointment. She said there is no need to arrive early and wait in line.
“You will not lose your place,” she said.
Baker said approximately 250,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were given since the start of Phase 2. He said two more sites – one in Natick and one in Dartmouth – are slated to open Feb. 22 and 24, respectively.
“We will start with 500,000 doses and scale up to 2,000 in Dartmouth and 3,000 in Natick,” Baker said.
He said he hopes to have the majority of people age 75 and older vaccinated before beginning the next phase, saying that population is “by far” the most vulnerable.