COVID-19 community updates

Published: 12/17/2020 8:26:09 PM
Modified: 12/17/2020 8:25:59 PM
State announces vaccine update,holiday guidance

BOSTON — The Baker-Polito administration announced updates on the commonwealth’s distribution efforts of the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as well as new guidance from the Department of Public Health (DPH) to help residents celebrate the holiday safely.

On Monday, the first doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine arrived in the commonwealth. Four hospitals received 5,850 first doses on Monday.

Wednesday, 53,625 more doses began to arrive to 17 more hospitals statewide.

Pending the approval of Moderna’s Emergency Use Authorization, the commonwealth, based on federal guidance, has been told to anticipate 180,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 120,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine. In all, the administration expects the commonwealth to receive 300,000 doses by the end of December.

DPH places vaccine orders on behalf of the providers. From there, the vaccine is shipped to the hospital or facility directly from the manufacturer on behalf of the federal government.

When vaccination begins, hospitals report data into DPH, and DPH and the Command Center will launch a public dashboard to keep track of immunizations administered next week. Individuals with questions about what phase they can be vaccinated in can send an email to for prioritization clarifications.

Additionally, CVS and Walgreens will begin vaccinating in nursing homes the week of Dec. 28 under the CDC’s Long-Term Care Pharmacy Partnership program. Their doses will come from the state’s Pfizer allocation, between 40,000 and 60,000 will be shipped to CVS and Walgreens for Massachusetts skilled nursing facilities.

Holiday guidance

DPH released December Holiday Guidance to advise residents on how to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19 during holiday activities.

This year, the commonwealth is asking residents to:

■Limit in-person celebrations to household members only;

■ Postpone or cancel travel this holiday season. If you do choose to travel, be aware of and comply with Massachusetts travel order requirements. Follow the current state gathering size limits and sector-specific workplace safety standards.

The DPH guidance also provides tips for engaging in lower-risk celebrations and traditions this holiday season, while discouraging high-risk activities.

Higher-risk celebrations and activities

Any time you gather with others outside of your household, you increase the risk of contracting or spreading illness. All residents are discouraged from gathering. Gatherings in Massachusetts are subject to gathering size limits.

You are risking your health and others’ health if you host or participate in any in-person festivities if you or anyone in your household:

■has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and has not completed the isolation period;

■has symptoms of COVID-19;

■is waiting for COVID-19 viral test results;

■may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 10 days; or

■is at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, such as older adults or those with certain medical conditions.

Carle Museum to take hiatus

AMHERST – The Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, 125 West Bay Road, is voluntarily closing to the public effective Sunday at 4 p.m., due to the statewide spike in COVID-19 cases. They will continue to monitor state health data and will reopen as soon as it is safe for staff, visitors, and community.

Everyone who has purchased advance tickets will be contacted directly and issued a refund and the Carle Bookshop will continue shipping orders and offering curbside pickup.

The Carle staff will continue to offer virtual programs and look forward to welcoming you back to the Museum one day very soon. If you have questions, the staff is still available and can be best reached at

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