It’s the end of another long week here in the State Senate. I’m happy to announce all the new eligibilities for the vaccine rollout. Starting this week, anyone 60 years and older is now eligible, as well as workers in many sectors of the economy. I encourage everyone to review these categories on mass.gov/covid-19-vaccine.
I’m also thrilled to announce that the Commonwealth has launched a plan for at-home vaccinations for those who are eligible and homebound. This particular population has struggled so much during this pandemic and we finally have the infrastructure in place to aid them. Available in Spanish, English, and almost 100 other languages, the at-home vaccination booking line can be reached at 1-800-983-0485, Mondays through Fridays 9am to 5pm.
Finally, Westfield now has its own vaccination site in the CVS on East Main Street. This a particular point of pride to have finally gotten a site in Westfield, as I’ve been advocating for one since the beginning of the vaccine rollout. I know that many of you have reached out to my office and your voices have not gone unheard. Although appointments may be somewhat scarce to start, this is an important step. I am also excited to announce that the Big E has been approved by the state as a regional vaccination site, with more details coming soon. As our vaccine supply continues to expand, I will continue to advocate for more local and regional sites to help residents better access the vaccine.
This week I had the pleasure of attending the raising of the Greek flag at St. George’s Orthodox Church in Springfield. This last Thursday marked the 200th anniversary of Greece’s Independence from the Ottoman Empire. I’m very proud of my Greek heritage and was honored to have been invited to such an event.
I’d also like to highlight one of the bills that I’ve filed this year, SD1372, The Speed Act. This bill would speed up the process for reapplying for professional licenses when spouses of military move to the Commonwealth. The act also eases the transition for service members’ children to their new schools by allowing pre-enrollment and online attendance before actually moving to the district and by also creating a “Purple Star” campuses designation.
Speaking of Veterans’ affairs, this week also marked the first meeting of the Joint Committee on Veteran and Federal Affairs. As the newly appointed Chairman, I will always do my best to advocate for our current servicemembers and Veterans. I look forward to a productive legislative session with my fellow officials on the Committee.
This week the bond bill that would finance the reconstruction of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home was voted on favorably by the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight. Its next stop is the Joint Committee on Bonding. The Holyoke Soldiers’ Home is an essential and venerable service for Veterans in the Commonwealth, a population amongst which I proudly count myself. We’re at the thirty yard line here with this bill and I will continue to do my best to push this over into the endzone so that Veterans for decades to come will be able receive care from the Home with the dignity and honor that they deserve.
I’ve also started sending out both quarterly newsletters and weekly email updates regarding the COVID-19 vaccination rollout. To sign up for my COVID-19 updates, head to senatorjohnvelis.com/covid-19-updates/ In a few weeks, the second issue of Quarterly newsletter will be going out as well, and you can sign up at senatorjohnvelis.com/quarterly-newsletter/ to receive the newsletter right in your email inbox.
As always, if there is anything I can do to assist you, please never hesitate to reach out to my office. I can be reached at my email: [email protected] or by phone: (413) 572-3920 and you can find me online at senatorjohnvelis.com.