Happy Holidays! I hope you and your loved ones have a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season and new year together. I am looking forward to spending some time with my family while my kids are out of school.
While 2021 has been a challenging year for many of us, I remain hopeful that with vaccinations, mask-wearing, and frequent testing, 2022 will hold new opportunities for the Commonwealth to continue reopening safely. Below are some updates regarding the new vaccine proof requirement for Boston and testing information in Boston and Cambridge.
This picture was taken a couple of weeks ago at the Commonwealth Ave. Mall Tree Lighting where I joined City Councilor Bok, Mayor Wu and Matt Sidman, from The Committee to Light Commonwealth Ave for the celebration and tree lighting. The Commonwealth Ave. Mall lights are privately funded from individual donors, you can visit their website here.
COVID-19 Vaccines On Sunday, Dr. Fauci predicted that the next couple of months may be the worst of the pandemic, as Omicron proves significantly more contagious than prior versions. Although vaccines do not appear as effective at stopping infections and spreading of this variant as they did with prior variants, it does appear that vaccines are still effective at limiting the impact of Omicron. If you have not been vaccinated, now is a great time to do so. I have been fully vaccinated and received a booster.
The current CDC guidelines regarding vaccines are as follows:
COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for everyone ages 5 years and older.
Moderately or severely immunocompromised people who are ages 12 years and older and received a Pfizer-BioNTech primary vaccine series or ages 18 years and older and received a Moderna primary vaccine series should receive an additional primary dose of the same vaccine at least 28 days after their second dose.
Everyone ages 18 years and older who is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should get a booster shot. Learn more about booster shots.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health found that unvaccinated residents are 5 times more likely to get infected than people with 2 shots and 31 times more likely to get infected than people with 2 shots & a booster. Vaccines are working as intended.
Baker's National Guard Announcement and Mask Advisory This morning, The Baker-Polito Administration announced additional measures to address a recent rise in COVID-19 cases and ensure that acute care hospitals have sufficient capacity to care for both COVID and non-COVID patients.
The Administration has instructed Massachusetts hospitals to postpone or cancel all non-essential elective procedures likely to admit patients, and will activate up to 500 National Guard personnel to help staff facilities in need.
The Baker Administration also updated their statewide mask advisory, now recommending that all individuals wear a mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
You can access more information from the Baker Administration directly by visiting here.
B Together Program Yesterday, Mayor Wu announced a new vaccination requirement program, B Together, which will begin January 15th to address the rising COVID-19 cases and to encourage vaccination. I strongly support this initiative and believe that requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 in certain high risk indoor spaces will help keep Boston safe and healthy, while supporting our local businesses and communities.
Starting January 15th, B Together will require people to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 in indoor dining spaces (including bars and nightclubs), indoor fitness centers, and indoor entertainment venues. You can view a full detailed list of covered locations here. A timeline of the requirements is listed below:
January 15th: People age 12+ must show proof of one dose of vaccine
February 15th: People age 12+ must show proof of full vaccination
March 1st: Children age 5-11 must show proof of one dose of vaccine
May 1st: People age 5+ must show proof of full vaccination
To enter one of the establishments listed above, you will need to show that you are vaccinated against COVID-19 with:
A CDC vaccination card
A digital image of your CDC card
An image of any official immunization record
A City of Boston app or any other COVID vaccine certification app
I am thankful to Mayor Wu for prioritizing this initiative during her first several weeks in office. I am proud to stand with her as we continue to prioritize the health and safety of our communities. To access more information on the B Together policy, please click here.
COVID-19 Testing Last week, The Governor announced the distribution of 2 million at home 15 minute COVID tests to municipalities to distribute. Both Boston (488,700 tests) and Cambridge (43,380) will receive tests. Yesterday, Mayor Wu announced that Boston is distributing its share through certain Boston Public Libraries, including the Central BPL in Back Bay but not the West End Library, and Boston Centers for Youth and Families. Boston has other free testing options as well.
Yesterday, Cambridge also announced the distribution of over 21,000 at home test kits to prioritized high risk and disproportionately impacted populations. Cambridge has partnered with Cambridge Housing Authority, Fresh Pond Apartments, and other affordable housing providers, as well as agencies serving our unhoused community, and non-profit service providers who serve individuals and families in Cambridge who are facing financial hardship and who may be unable to access testing. 900 kits were also bundled for senior citizens who receive packages from the Cambridge Police Department as part of their Secret Santa for Seniors Gift Drive that delivers gift bags to elderly members of the community. Cambridge also has many free testing options.
I think testing, especially as we develop more low cost at home rapid testing, will become a more crucial weapon used to get us closer to returning to life beyond the pandemic.
The State House will resume formal sessions starting January 2022, but until then my staff and I are continuing to work to advance our bills and other various initiatives across the Commonwealth.