By Kristina Rex

STOUGHTON (CBS) – The next group of Massachusetts residents will have access to the COVID vaccine starting Monday – and that includes grocery workers, who have fought for eligibility for weeks.

Grocery workers are breathing a sigh of relief as they learn they’ll become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine starting Monday.

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“It’s great. It’s about time. We’ve been waiting a long time,” said one grocery store worker.

For weeks, the essential workers have asked Gov. Charlie Baker for the shot.

“They worked throughout the whole pandemic, day in and day out. They didn’t have the ability that many others had, right, to work from home,” said Fernando Lemus of UFCW Local 1445.

Now the rest of the schedule is here:

March 22: residents 60+ and certain workers
April 5th: residents 55+ and residents with one certain medical condition
April 19th (Patriots Day): general public ages 16 years of age and older

The full timeline is available at mass.gov/COVIDVaccinePhases.

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“We will be able to move faster to get doses to a residents, and this is long overdue and welcome. We’re all eager to get back to something like normal and see our friends and loved ones again,” Baker said.

It’s welcome news for people in each phase, here, a retail worker, a man with asthma and a young mother with no medical issues will fall into each of the next three phases respectively.

“I’m excited, just because I feel like the more people who get vaccinated, the soon things can start to go back to normal, I guess,” said retail worker Bella Shields.

“It’s a monkey off my back with having a pre-existing condition. It’s relieving,” said Mark Bishop, who has asthma.

“I was like, ‘Wow, everybody’s going to get the vaccine. That’s excellent!’ And I called my husband immediately,” said Cindy Labbe with a baby in her hand.

So far, more than three million doses have landed in Massachusetts, and more than 972,000 people are fully vaccinated. Anyone can pre-register at mass.gov/covidvaccine, and after a bumpy start, people are optimistic.

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Governor Baker says he expects the state to hit the one million mark – as in one million people fully vaccinated – in the next 24 hours.

Kristina Rex