COVID-19 Vaccinations

Please check this page regularly. It is updated on an ongoing basis. Last updated 02/25/2021 - 8:01pm

  • Updates & Alerts

  • About the Vaccine

  • Common Questions

  • Events

  • Videos & Podcasts

Sign Up to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine Information and City Alerts

PLEASE NOTE THAT VACCINE INFORMATION IS CHANGING QUICKLY. THE INFORMATION BELOW IS THE LATEST NEWS AS OF THURSDAY MORNING, FEBRUARY 18. 

  • People in Phase 2, Group 2 of the State’s vaccine rollout are now eligible to receive a vaccine. Phase 2, Group 2 includes people 65 and older, people with two or more certain health conditions, and residents and staff of affordable senior housing. To book an appointment at a State site starting February 18, visit mass.gov/vaccine or call 211. You can search for the vaccine sites and appointment availability statewide at vaxfinder.mass.gov. Keep in mind that phone wait times may be long, so please be patient. 
  • The State has announced that those accompanying someone 75 or older to their COVID-19 vaccine appointment at State sites are also eligible to get vaccinated. Anyone accompanying a senior to their vaccine appointment must have an appointment scheduled at the same site, on the same day, as the senior they are accompanying. To check eligibility and make an appointment at a State site, visit mass.gov/vaccine or or call 211. Keep in mind that phone wait times may be long, so please be patient.
  • The City of Somerville is also available to help those who face barriers to accessing vaccines including needing transportation or language assistance. If you are currently eligible to receive a vaccine - including those in Phase 1 or who are 65 or older, or who have two or more certain health conditions - and need help accessing local vaccine resources, please call 311. 311 can connect seniors and residents who require assistance to the Council on Aging and other staff for support in signing up for State vaccine clinics.
  • The Library invites all to join a virtual and phone COVID-19 Vaccine Q&A on Monday, February 22 at 7 p.m. featuring area health providers. For information on how to call in or join online, visit the “Events” tab on this page (somervillema.gov/covidvaccine). .
  • How to get the latest vaccine information: Vaccination information is changing quickly. We’re going to keep sending out these weekly emails, which will include vaccine information, but if you want the latest news and information on appointment availability, here’s where to look:
    • The State’s website: The State’s COVID vaccine website is updated often with statewide information.To find out when and where you can get vaccinated, visit mass.gov/covidvaccine. You can search for the vaccine sites and appointment availability statewide at vaxfinder.mass.gov
    • The City of Somerville website: Visit somervillema.gov/covidvaccine (this page) for vaccine updates, info sessions, and FAQs.
    • Call the Vaccine Info Line: The City of Somerville has launched phone lines that residents can call to listen to recorded updates on COVID-19 vaccine information. Call one of the lines below to listen to the latest update in your language:
      • English Vaccine Info Line: 617-591-3251 
      • Spanish Vaccine Info Line: 617-591-3252 
      • Portuguese Vaccine Info Line: 617-591-3253 
      • Haitian Creole Vaccine Info Line: 617-591-3254 
      • Nepali Vaccine Info Line: 617-591-3255 
  • You can sign up to receive occasional phone calls updating you on the latest COVID-19 vaccine information, including where and how to get a vaccine. To subscribe, please visit somervillema.gov/covidvaccine, and select “Sign Up to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine Information and City Alerts” on this page, or call 311. If you are already signed up to receive email and text notifications through the City’s alert system you will also get this information. Again, this for people who would prefer to get vaccine updates via phone call.

Your primary care physician or health provider may also have guidance for you about when and how to get the vaccine, and opportunities to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Multiple safe, effective COVID-19 vaccines started arriving in Massachusetts in December 2020. This is a major step forward in our fight to end this pandemic, but it’s critical that we continue to use all the tools we have to slow the spread of the virus, like wearing masks, social distancing, and limiting in-person gatherings.

Massachusetts residents will get access to the vaccine in phases. Currently, the following groups are eligible to receive the vaccine:

The Massachusetts Department of Health (DPH) will announce when additional phases and categories of people are eligible to receive the vaccine. The estimated timeline as set by the Massachusetts DPH is available here. You can also check your eligibility at mass.gov/vaccine.This schedule is subject to change. 

To stay informed, sign up for City vaccine alerts at somervillema.gov/covidvaccine, and select “Sign Up to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine Information and City Alerts”, or call 311. 

Once you are eligible to be vaccinated under the state’s timeline, you can check state vaccination site locations and sign up for an appointment at vaxfinder.mass.gov or by calling 211. You can also check with your primary care provider if they are able to offer the vaccine to currently eligible patients. 

If you need assistance signing up or accessing the COVID-19 vaccine, including assistance with transportation or language access, please call the City of Somerville Constituent Services at 311. 311 can connect seniors and other residents to support staff who can assist with making an appointment or other needs. 

To receive regular updates on where to receive the vaccine, sign up for City vaccine alerts at somervillema.gov/covidvaccine, and select “Sign Up to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine Information and City Alerts”, or call 311. 

Stay informed about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Somerville by signing up for vaccine alerts at somervillema.gov/covidvaccine. Through the alert system, the City of Somerville will notify residents when, where, and how to get vaccinated according to the vaccine phases determined by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. You can also stay informed by checking this website (somervillema.gov/covidvaccine) and mass.gov/vaccine.

You can learn more about the vaccine by visiting the “Videos and Resources” tab to hear from local health care experts discussing common questions and concerns about the vaccine.

How the Vaccine Works

COVID-19 vaccines teach the body how to recognize the virus that causes COVID-19 and get you ready to fight it if you are exposed. The two COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized by the FDA are the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the Moderna vaccine. Both of these vaccines use strands of genetic material (called messenger ribonucleic acid or mRNA) to give your body instructions for making proteins. These proteins harmlessly mimic certain aspects of the coronavirus. This in turn prepares your immune system to recognize the actual coronavirus and produce antibodies to protect against illness. Learn more about how COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work. ​

It will take time for your body to build immunity to the coronavirus after being vaccinated. The vaccine may not start to protect you until 1-2 weeks after receiving the second dose. It is important to continue following public health guidelines such as social distancing and wearing a mask, even after being vaccinated. Because the current vaccines are not yet 100% effective (clinical trials found them to be 94%-95% effective), it will be important for everyone including vaccinated persons to remain vigilant until public health officials advise otherwise.

Vaccines are an important tool in helping to stop the pandemic. Other safety measures - such as physical social distancing and wearing masks - are necessary to slow transmission, but vaccines are the only safe way to create immunity to the coronavirus. Building immunity will prevent illness and death caused by COVID-19, and will eventually allow for each of us to live a more safe and less restricted life.

Both of the currently available COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing COVID-19 for the vaccine recipient. In clinical trials, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was shown to be 95% effective at preventing illness, and the Moderna vaccine was shown to be 94% effective. According to the CDC, experts believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine may also help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get sick with COVID-19.

 

Vaccine Safety 

Before any vaccine is made available, it undergoes extensive development and testing. The FDA approved use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the Moderna vaccine after reviewing data from clinical trials with 44,000 and 30,000 participants, respectively. In its review of the data, the FDA found that the potential side effects of the vaccines are mild, and concluded that the vaccines have a favorable safety profile. 

The most commonly reported side effects typically last several days and tend to be mild. They include pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, and fever. After two months of follow-up from clinical trial participants, the FDA concluded that there were no long-term adverse effects that would make the vaccines unsafe for the general population. Serious allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) to the current vaccines have been reported but are extremely rare.

 

When, Where, and How to Get the Vaccine

Massachusetts residents will get access to the vaccine in phases. Currently, the following groups are eligible to receive the vaccine:

The Massachusetts Department of Health (DPH) will announce when additional phases and categories of people are eligible to receive the vaccine. The estimated timeline as set by the Massachusetts DPH is available here. You can also check your eligibility at mass.gov/vaccine.This schedule is subject to change. 

To stay informed, sign up for City vaccine alerts at somervillema.gov/covidvaccine, and select “Sign Up to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine Information and City Alerts”, or call 311.

 

Once you are eligible to be vaccinated under the state’s timeline, you can check state vaccination site locations and sign up for an appointment at vaxfinder.mass.gov or by calling 211. You can also check with your primary care provider if they are able to offer the vaccine to currently eligible patients. 

If you need assistance signing up or accessing the COVID-19 vaccine, including assistance with transportation or language access, please call the City of Somerville Constituent Services at 311. 311 can connect seniors and other residents to support staff who can assist with making an appointment or other needs. 

To receive regular updates on where to receive the vaccine, sign up for City vaccine alerts at somervillema.gov/covidvaccine, and select “Sign Up to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine Information and City Alerts”, or call 311.

The vaccine is being provided free of charge to all individuals by the federal government.  Insurance companies are also committed to not charging any out-of-pocket fees or co-payments related to COVID-19 vaccine administration, and all health care provider sites that receive COVID-19 vaccine must agree to not charge patients any out-of-pocket fees or deny anyone vaccination services. 

During the vaccine appointment registration process, you may be asked to provide health insurance information, but this is NOT required information. You can register for an online vaccination appointment without entering any health insurance information, and you will NOT be denied a vaccination.

What can I expect during my first and second vaccination appointments?

The vaccine is administered in two doses. You will need to come in for two vaccination appointments.

During your appointment, you will receive a vaccination card or printout that tells you what COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it. You will also receive a paper or electronic version of a fact sheet that tells you more about the specific COVID-19 vaccine you are being offered. Each authorized COVID-19 vaccine has its own fact sheet that contains information to help you understand the risks and benefits of receiving that specific vaccine. After receiving the vaccine, you will be monitored on-site for 15 minutes.

After receiving your first dose of the vaccine, you will need to return 3-4 weeks later for a second dose. You must get the second shot even if you have side effects after the first one, unless a vaccination provider or your doctor tells you not to get a second shot.

You may want to sign up for v-safe, which is a smartphone app offered by the CDC. V-safe offers personalized health check-ins, allows you to report any side effects, and reminds you to follow up for your second dose. Learn more at www.cdc.gov/vsafe.

Data from clinical trials showed the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to be 95% and 94% effective, respectively, at preventing illness from the coronavirus. It is unknown how long the protection from the vaccine will last. It is also unknown whether it is possible for vaccinated individuals to unknowingly become infected and spread the coronavirus, even if they do not become ill themselves.

Yes. While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask, washing hands often, and staying at least 6 feet away from others. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations for how to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19. Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before deciding to change recommendations on steps everyone should take to slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision. (source: Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination | CDC as of 12/21/20.

Upcoming Events


 

Resources

Videos

Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine from local health care professionals and hear from the experiences of Somerville community members who have been vaccinated. You can view all videos on the Somerville GovTV YouTube Channel.

Weekly updates on state and local vaccine news including changes to the state rollout plan, the progress of vaccination statewide, and policy updates.

COVID Vaccine Q&A
COVID-19 Vaccine Q&A hosted by the Somerville Public Library with Dr. Kathe Miller and Mary Cassesso from Cambridge Health Alliance, and Director of Health and Human Services for the City of Somerville, Doug Kress.This video is also available on the City of Somerville Facebook.

Podcast: Should I Get the COVID-19 Vaccine? How Safe Is It?
The COTI Show hosted by Clarence Ismey speaks with guests Ted Louis Jacques, Director of the Veteran Affairs for the City of Somerville, Sonny Ribourd, physician Assistant at the Cambridge Health Alliance, and Steph Aman, community liaison for the City of Somerville. Listen to the conversation about the COVID-19 Vaccine and what is being done to protect the local community. This episode was made in collaboration with the City of Somerville Office of Immigrant Affairs.

Pregnancy and Getting Vaccinated -- What Are You Recommending to Your Patients?
Cambridge Health Alliance Family Medicine doctor Julia Randall, MD shares what she's telling her pregnant and breastfeeding patients about getting vaccinated. See Dr. Randall’s ther videos on this topic:
     -What are the risks of getting vaccinated while pregnant?
     -Should I get the COVID vaccine while I'm breastfeeding?
     -Do COVID vaccines cause infertility?
     -Being pregnant and getting COVID vaccine
     -Getting the COVID vaccination while pregnant

Senior Circuit: COVID-19 Update
A discussion with Council on Aging Director, Ashley Speliotis and Dr. Ken Gerweck, MD of Cambridge Health Alliance 

Preguntas y Respuestas Sobre Vacunas (Spanish)
Cambridge Health Alliance is working to ensure that all patients can be vaccinated.

Vacuna Contra el COVID-19: Mitos y Verdades (Spanish)
An interview with Dr. Kris Meisinger (Cambridge Health Alliance) and Irma Flores (Office of Immigrant Affairs Spanish Community Liaison)

¿De qué sirve vacunarse? (Spanish)
A message from Dr. Huanuco Perez from the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center

Quem Tem Dúvidas Sobre a Vacina Contra COVID 19? (Portuguese)
A discussion with Dr. Kris Meisinger (Cambridge Health Alliance), Adriana Fernandes (Office of Immigrant Affairs Portuguese Community Liaison), and Liliane Paiva (The Brazilian Times)

The Brazilian Women’s Group conversation on the COVID-19 Vaccine, Aging, Housing, and City Services (Portuguese).
The Brazilian Women’s Group, Adriana Fernandes (Somerville Office of Immigrant Affairs Portuguese Liaison), Jamila Xible (Cambridge Health Alliance), and Somerville residents discuss the COVID-19 vaccine, aging, housing, and other city services. 

Enfomasyon Sou Kowonaviris La (Haitian Creole)
Dr. Malou Jean Baptiste speaks with Jhenny Saint-Surin (Somerville Office of Immigrant Affairs Haitan Creole Liaison) about the coronavirus vaccine, what it is, how the vaccine is made, and many other details about the pandemic.

कोभिड-१९ खोपहरु  (Nepali)
A discussion with Parashu Ram Phuyal (Somerville Office of Immigrant Affairs Nepali Liaison) and healthcare professions including: Ruja Sharma, RN, BSN (School Nurse at the Argenziano), Shrijana Karki Thapaliya Medical Assistant (Cambridge Health Alliance), Dr. Ashok Devkota, MD (Rhode Island Hospital and Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at Brown University), Dr. Prajeena Mainali, D.O. (Fall River Primary Care), Dipendra Pokharel Emergency Department, PCS, (Mass General Hospital), Manikala Rai (Cambridge Health Alliance), and Tek Narayan Yadav (Cambridge Health Alliance).

"I Got My COVID-19 Vaccine": Play Video Playlist

Ted Louis-Jacques, Director of Veterans' Services
Director of Veterans' Services, Ted Louis-Jacques, got his COVID vaccine and tells other veterans, when able, to get one as well.

Sandra de Carvalho, Cobble Hill Resident (Portuguese)
Sandra de Carvalho, Cobble Hill resident, received her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, February 5th.

Joseph Betancourt, MD, MPH, from Massachusetts General Hospital
Joseph Betancourt, MD, MPH, MGH/MGPO Senior Vice President for Equity and Community Health, takes viewers step-by-step as he receives the first dose of his COVID-19 vaccine at Massachusetts General Hospital.

My COVID-19 Vaccination Story: Dr. Burnett-Bowie|
Sherri-Ann M. Burnett-Bowie MD, MPH, shares her experience after receiving the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Burnett-Bowie is a clinical investigator in the Mass General Endocrine Unit, associate director of the MGH Center for Diversity and Inclusion, and director of Multicultural Affairs for the Department of Medicine.