Vaccine eligibility in Massachusetts
March 23, 2021
To the members of the MIT community,
We write to share new eligibility guidelines for Covid-19 vaccinations in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, issued last week by Governor Charlie Baker. Below we also offer details on how you can now pre-register with the Commonwealth, and we describe current federal, state, and MIT policies on the activities of those who have been vaccinated.
Updated eligibility timeline for Massachusetts
As of Monday, March 22: All individuals over age 60 who live, work, or study in Massachusetts are now eligible for vaccination. In addition, certain broad categories of employees who live, work, or study in Massachusetts now qualify for vaccination, regardless of age.
At MIT, based on state guidance that is specific to higher education, these groups include:
- Food service workers: Those who deliver, handle, prepare, or serve food in on-campus dining facilities.
- Custodial workers: Those who clean and sanitize buildings and facilities on campuses.
- Transportation workers: Those who operate shuttle buses or other vehicles that transport students, faculty, or staff on or to campuses.
- Retail workers: Those who work in retail establishments on campuses.
MIT employees in other specific categories are also eligible for vaccination; please be sure to review the jobs at this link for your eligibility.
Everyone who is 60 or older, as well as everyone in the jobs described above, can now register with the Commonwealth for their Covid-19 vaccination. This registration process has improved over the past few weeks, so anyone who was already qualified for vaccination in Massachusetts, but who has not yet been vaccinated, might try again now.
As of Monday, April 5: All individuals over age 55 who live, work, or study in Massachusetts will be eligible for vaccination. In addition, individuals with certain medical conditions who live, work, or study in Massachusetts will qualify for vaccination. These conditions include obesity, pregnancy, and a history of smoking; please review the list of qualifying medical conditions to determine whether any may apply to you.
As of Monday, April 19: Everyone over age 16 who lives, works, or studies in Massachusetts will become eligible for a Covid-19 vaccination.
Important steps even if you’re not yet eligible
Once you are eligible, we encourage you to get a vaccine from any of the sites offering them throughout the Commonwealth. Remember: The best vaccine is the first one you can get.
If you are not yet eligible, you should pre-register at this site that the Commonwealth has set up for its mass vaccination sites. Anyone who lives, works, or studies in Massachusetts is eligible to pre-register, and to receive the vaccine in Massachusetts.
Once you are eligible, you can also sign up for appointments directly through certain pharmacies, community vaccine distribution sites, and health care providers; some have found this to be a faster path to scheduling an appointment. The Commonwealth has set up this site that lists all vaccine distribution locations.
What changes once you are vaccinated
First, we ask that you let us know that you have been vaccinated by updating your information on covidvaccine.mit.edu — or that you fill out the form at this link, if you have not yet done so. In the coming weeks it will be possible for you to upload information about your vaccination, creating a record that you can then use for travel and other purposes.
Both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have established guidelines for those who are fully vaccinated, defined as two weeks after receiving a final dose of any of the Covid-19 vaccines:
- Fully vaccinated individuals are not required to quarantine if they are close contacts of someone who tests positive for Covid-19, provided they remain asymptomatic.
- Fully vaccinated individuals are exempt from testing and/or quarantining following out-of-state travel.
However, in some cases MIT policy continues to supersede federal and state guidelines. For example, the Institute is not yet allowing unmasked gatherings at MIT between fully vaccinated individuals. Institute policy also does not yet permit vaccinated individuals to gather unmasked at MIT with unvaccinated individuals, whether indoors or out.
We still do not know if or when the Commonwealth might resume allocating Covid-19 vaccine to MIT and other universities. We will let you know if we learn that vaccinations will again be possible at MIT. Until then, anyone who lives, works, or studies in Massachusetts should pre-register for their vaccination both with the Commonwealth and at covidvaccine.mit.edu.
As we move forward into these exciting new phases of protecting our community through vaccination, we all have a role to play. Please continue to do your part by remaining vigilant – maintaining a safe distance from others and continuing to wear a well-fitting mask – by signing up for your vaccine as soon as you are eligible, and by remaining alert for updates from MIT, given the rapid pace of changes in recent weeks.
Cecilia Stuopis, MD
Medical Director, MIT Medical
Ian A. Waitz
Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate and Graduate Education
Chair, MIT Vaccine Planning Team