By Staff

BOSTON (CBS) – An additional 850,000 people are now eligible to make COVID vaccine appointments in Massachusetts.

Starting Monday, people age 60 and older and essential workers from the following categories can now get shots:

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  • Grocery and convenience store workers
  • Restaurant or cafe workers
  • Food, meatpacking, beverage, agriculture, consumer goods, retail, or food service workers
  • Food pantry workers or volunteers
  • Medical supply chain workers
  • Vaccine development workers
  • Transit/transportation workers
  • Public works, water, wastewater, or utility workers
  • Sanitation workers
  • Public health workers
  • Judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, clerks
  • Funeral directors and funeral workers

The news comes as relief to chef and restaurant owner Michael Serpa who received his first shot on Monday. “Most people are unmasked while they’re eating. The employees are in contact with hundreds of people a day,” Serpa said.

The owner of Grand Tour on Newbury Street and two other restaurants decided to close at the end of October. Now he hopes outdoor dining and vaccinations will give his employees extra layers of protection.

“I got vaccinated a couple hours ago, which is great. Most of my staff is lined up ready to get vaccinated in the next couple days here,” Serpa said.

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Stop and Shop employee and union steward Cheryl Ferullo says vaccinations for grocery store workers are long overdue.

“I just want to get the shot, to be honest with you. And, I want to hug my granddaughter. I have not seen my granddaughter in over a year,” Ferullo said, “I mean, I don’t want to wait another 2 to 3 weeks. The numbers are still there for COVID every day, testing positive.”

On Monday, April 5, residents 55 and older and those with one existing medical condition will be eligible across the state.

Vaccines will be available to the general public on Monday, April 19.

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Visit Mass.Gov/CovidVaccine to book an appointment or call the hotline at 211. Staff