BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts will open two new mass COVID-19 vaccination sites in Natick and Dartmouth later this month and caregivers for those over age 75 will now also be able to get vaccinated, the Baker administration announced Wednesday.
“We hope this change will encourage more 75 and older residents to get their vaccines at mass vaccination sites, which have the most availability,” Gov. Charlie Baker said at a news conference at the mass vaccination site at the DoubleTree Hotel in Danvers.READ MORE: Coronavirus In Massachusetts: Today's Developments
Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders also cautioned seniors to be careful.
“Please do not accept calls offering assistance from someone you do not know, you do not trust to take you to a vaccination appointment,” she said.
“Our hope is that, with the announcement today, that someone who is taking an older adult – a trusted companion, a caregiver, or a family member with someone who’s 75 or older – be vaccinated in tandem will bring an extra level of comfort to those who may be hesitant, or don’t want to bother their caregiver or loved one, or a good friend to book an appointment.”
The state said it will also post 74,000 appointments online Thursday for mass vaccination sites and pharmacies at locations across Massachusetts. Another 30,000 additional appointments will be posted by the end of the week, pushing the total to more than 100,000.
The two new mass vaccination sites will be at the Natick Mall and at Circuit City in Dartmouth.
The Natick Mall site will open Monday, February 22. LabCorp will start by administering 500 doses per day with a plan to boost that to 3,000 doses daily in the following weeks.
The Dartmouth Circuit City site will open on Wednesday, February 24. Curative will start with 500 doses per day, eventually ramping up to more than 2,000 doses daily.READ MORE: It Happens Here: Westboro's Hollywood Salvage Has Movie Memorabilia You Can Own
Eligible residents can begin booking appointments for both sites on Thursday, February 18th at mass.gov/covidvaccine .
Massachusetts is currently at the beginning of phase 2 of vaccinations, meaning only those age 75 and over can get vaccinated. Starting Thursday, February 11 that will be expanded to included any caregiver who brings someone age 75 or older to a mass vaccination site.
“A caregiver must schedule their own appointment online for the same day and location as the 75 or older resident. Only one caregiver may accompany a 75 or older resident,” Baker’s office said in a statement.
“Mass vaccination locations will make every effort (to) take both individuals together to minimize wait time, even if the appointment times are not identical.”
You don’t need to be a family member, just someone who is bringing the person to get a vaccine.
To meet the intense demand, more than 53,000 appointments will be posted online Thursday at 8:30 a.m. for mass vaccinations sites in Gillette Stadium, Fenway Park, Danvers and Springfield.
More than 50,000 pharmacy appointments will be posted online by the end of this week with 21,000 of them to be posted Thursday.
The 50,000 includes appointments at CVS, Walgreens, Wegmans, Big Y, Price Chopper, Stop and Shop and Hannaford.MORE NEWS: 'Big Decision': Baker Still Reviewing New CDC Mask Guidance, Says Massachusetts In 'Much Better Position' Than Other States
Anyone who is eligible for a vaccine in Massachusetts, should visit mass.gov/covidvaccine for details on how to book an appointment.