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COVID-19 vaccine in Boston

The COVID-19 vaccine is an important tool to keep ourselves and our communities safe. Along with wearing masks, social distancing, and frequent handwashing, the vaccine will help us end the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has unfairly affected Boston's Black, Latinx, immigrant and other communities of color. Systemic racism, including in healthcare and vaccine development, also contributes to concerns and mistrust of the COVID-19 vaccine. We're committed to making information available in multiple languages, through multiple methods, and on an ongoing basis. Our goal is to help our residents make informed decisions.

Please note:
  • Information is still evolving around the vaccine. We will provide updates as new and relevant information becomes available.
  • Community health centers are working to notify patients who qualify. They will reach out to you when doses are available if you are eligible to receive the vaccine.

Check your vaccine eligibility

Have questions? Contact:

Boston Public Health Commission
For medical professionals

If you are a medical professional and want to volunteer to administer the vaccine, please visit the Boston Medical Reserve Corps website. You can also email volunteer@bphc.org for more information.

We want to hear from you!

Your responses to our COVID-19 vaccine survey will help us make decisions that are informed by the community:

Take our survey today

Map of vaccine sites in Boston

View a map of vaccine locations in Boston for eligible groups.
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List of Boston vaccine sites

List of sites
Location Vaccine information Days of Operation

Boston Medical Center

85 East Concord Street, South End, MA 02118

All Boston residents from eligible priority groups can get the vaccine. Schedule a Boston Medical Center appointment. Varies

Charles River Community Health Center

495 Western Avenue, Brighton, MA 02135

For existing patients and community members 65 and older or with two or more eligible medical conditions.

Call 617-870-7299 to schedule an appointment.

Monday, March 8, from 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Dorchester COVID-19 Vaccination Site

Russell Auditorium, 70 Talbot Avenue, Dorchester MA 02124

 

All Boston residents from eligible priority groups can get the vaccine. Schedule a Dorchester appointment. Monday through Saturday: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (vaccination site)

120 Liverpool Street, East Boston, MA 02128

All eligible priority groups can get the vaccine. An appointment is required. Call 617-568-4870. Testing varies

Fenway Park

4 Jersey Street, Fenway, MA 02215

All eligible priority groups can get the vaccine. Schedule an appointment at Fenway.

Monday through Friday

Florian Hall — Harbor Health

55 Hallet Street, Dorchester MA 02122

The vaccine is available to:

  • members of the community who are either 65 or older
  • individuals with two or more eligible medical conditions, and
  • residents and staff of low income and affordable senior housing.

Please call 1-888-503-0766. There's help with appointments in Spanish, Portuguese, and Vietnamese. Check the Harbor Health website for more information.

Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Hyde Park Vaccination Site

Menino YMCA, 1137 River Street, Hyde Park MA 02136

All Boston residents from eligible priority groups can get the vaccine. Schedule a Hyde Park appointment. Monday through Friday: 7 -11 a.m. and 5 - 9 p.m.

Mattapan COVID-19 Vaccination Site

Morning Star Baptist Church, 1257 Blue Hill Avenue, Mattapan MA 02126

 

All Boston residents from eligible priority groups can get the vaccine. Schedule a Mattapan appointment.

Monday and Friday: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Tuesday and Thursday: 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Reggie Lewis Center

1350 Tremont Street, Roxbury MA 02120

All eligible priority groups can get the vaccine. Schedule a Reggie Lewis Center appointment. Tuesday through Saturday

Roslindale COVID-19 Vaccination Site

17 Corinth Avenue, Roslindale MA 02131

All Boston residents from eligible priority groups can get the vaccine. Schedule a Roslindale appointment. Monday through Saturday: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

South Boston CHC

409 W Broadway, South Boston, MA 02127

For existing patients only AND eligible priority groups:

Monday through Friday
Location Vaccine information Days of Operation

Codman Square CHC

637 Washington Street, Dorchester MA 02124

For existing patients only in eligible priority groups. Varies

Daniel Driscoll Neponset Health Center - Harbor Health Services

398 Neponset Avenue, Dorchester, MA 02122

For existing patients only in eligible priority groups. Varies

Dot House CHC

1353 Dorchester Avenue, Dorchester, MA 02122

For existing patients only in eligible priority groups. Varies

First Parish - Beth Israel Lahey Hospital

10 Parish Street, Dorchester, MA 02122

For existing patients only in eligible priority groups. Varies

Geiger Gibson Community Health - Harbor Health Services

250 Mt Vernon Street, Dorchester, MA 02125

For existing patients only in eligible priority groups. Varies

Greater Roslindale Medical and Dental Center

4199 Washington Street, Roslindale, MA 02131

For existing patients only in eligible priority groups. Varies

Mattapan Community Health Center

1575 Blue Hill Avenue, Mattapan, MA 02126

For existing patients only in eligible priority groups. Varies

Upham's Corner Community Health Center

415 Columbia Rd, Dorchester, MA 02125

For existing patients only in eligible priority groups. Varies

Old North Church - NEW Health

193 Salem Street, North End, MA 02113

For existing patients in eligible priority groups and North End, Waterfront, and Charlestown residents who are 75 and older.

You must be a registered patient of Mass General Brigham Hospital. If not registered, call 866-211-6588 to register for a vaccine appointment. You can call 617-724-8725 to leave a message and a patient services staff will call back to schedule an appointment

Tuesdays and Thursdays (2-6 p.m.)

Saturday (9 a.m. - 4 p.m.)

Charlestown - NEW Health

15 Tufts Street, Charlestown, MA 02129

For existing patients in eligible priority groups and North End, Waterfront, and Charlestown residents who are 75 and older.

You must be a registered patient of Mass General Brigham Hospital. If not registered, call 866-211-6588 to register for the vaccine. You can call 857-238-1141 to leave a message and a patient services staff will call back to schedule an appointment.

Varies

Whittier Street CHC

1290 Tremont Street, Roxbury, MA 02120

For existing patients only in eligible priority groups.

Eligible Whittier Street Health Center patients should call 617-858-2444 for an appointment.

Varies

The Dimock Center

55 Dimock Street, Roxbury, MA 02119

For existing patients only in eligible priority groups. Varies

Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center

632 Blue Hill Avenue, Dorchester, MA 02121

For existing patients only in eligible priority groups. Varies

South End Community Health Center

1601 Washington Street, South End, MA 02118

For existing patients only in eligible priority groups. Varies

Temple Israel - Beth Israel Lahey Hospital

477 Longwood Avenue, Fenway, MA 02215

For existing patients only in eligible priority groups. Varies
Location Vaccine information Days of Operation

CVS (Border Street)

210 Border Street, East Boston, MA 02128

All eligible priority groups can get the vaccine. Schedule and appointment at CVS. Daily

CVS (Harrison Avenue)

874 Harrison Avenue, South End, MA 02118

All eligible priority groups can get the vaccine. Schedule and appointment at CVS. Daily

CVS (Hyde Park Avenue)

942 Hyde Park Avenue, Hyde Park, MA 02136

All eligible priority groups can get the vaccine. Schedule and appointment at CVS. Daily

CVS (Saratoga Street)

1150 Saratoga Street, East Boston, MA 02128

All eligible priority groups can get the vaccine. Schedule and appointment at CVS. Daily

Walgreens (Warren Street)

416 Warren Street, Roxbury, MA 02119

All eligible priority groups can get the vaccine. Schedule an appointment at Walgreens. Daily

Walgreens (Columbus Ave)

1890 Columbus Avenue, Roxbury, MA 02119

All eligible priority groups can get the vaccine. Schedule an appointment at Walgreens. Daily

Walgreens (Gallivan Ave)

757 Gallivan Avenue, Dorchester, MA 02122

All eligible priority groups can get the vaccine. Schedule an appointment at Walgreens. Daily

Walgreens (Morton St.)

825 Morton Street, Mattapan, MA 02126

All eligible priority groups can get the vaccine. Schedule an appointment at Walgreens. Daily

Walgreens (River St.)

90 River Street, Mattapan, MA 02126

All eligible priority groups can get the vaccine. Schedule an appointment at Walgreens. Daily

Help for seniors

Need help booking an appointment?

Eligible seniors who qualify for the vaccine and who need help with online registration should call 3-1-1 for help. Ask to be connected to the Age Strong Commission for vaccine registration assistance. Eligible Massachusetts residents can also call 2-1-1 if they need help for registration.

Federal Pharmacy Partnership

Senior residences and Long-Term Care facilities in Boston are partnered with the Federal Pharmacy Partnership program to provide vaccines to their residents. If residents or their family members have questions about vaccinations at these sites, please contact the facility management directly.

Common questions

Questions?
How many vaccines and what types are in development?

Dozens of vaccines are now in development, and several are moving toward final development. Vaccines from two vaccine makers, Pfizer and Moderna, were approved in December 2020.

How many vaccines will be available in Massachusetts?

Vaccine distribution is being directed by the State. For up-to-date and accurate information, review the State's weekly COVID-19 vaccination report

Who will get the vaccine first?

The federal government has recommended, and the Massachusetts COVID-19 Advisory Group has agreed, that first doses of the vaccine will go to people at highest risk for contracting COVID-19, including:

  • healthcare workers
  • first responders (for example, EMS, fire and police), and
  • residents and staff of congregate care settings. These include nursing homes, shelters and correctional institutions.

Massachusetts places equity as a core principle of its recommendations, going further than national recommendations by prioritizing all COVID-facing health workers, including:

  • food service and facility workers, and
  • home health workers, including personal care attendants.

Individuals in congregate settings, including shelters and correctional institutions, are also prioritized.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts developed the Massachusetts COVID-19 vaccine distribution and schedule that prioritizes:

  • our residents most at risk of contracting the virus, and
  • those most at risk of poor health outcomes if they contract the virus. 

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is also overseeing the distribution. 

To find out when you can get vaccinated, check the state's website.

Will residents be required to get the vaccine?

We don't know of any current plans to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory. The Biden administration has said that it does not plan to make the vaccine mandatory throughout the U.S.

Once the COVID-19 vaccine is available, where can I go to get it?

The Boston Public Health Commission is actively planning vaccine clinics for Boston residents. 

When the COVID-19 vaccine is available to the general public, the Boston Public Health Commission will work with the City of Boston, health centers and hospitals, the state, community organizations, and others. We want to ensure that the vaccine is accessible and that people know where to get it. We have utilized similar strategies to ensure flu vaccines and COVID-19 testing are available and accessible to all. 

Check back for updates on where you can get vaccinated when it is available.

Will I have to pay for the vaccine?

No. The vaccine is being provided free of charge by the federal government to all individuals. This includes those with no insurance, undocumented immigrants, and international students.

Insurance companies are committed to not charging any out-of-pocket fees or co-payments related to COVID-19 vaccine administration. Additionally, all healthcare provider sites that receive COVID-19 vaccine must agree to not charge patients any out-of-pocket fees or deny anyone vaccination services.

Providers can be reimbursed from the federal level for some administration costs. However, patients or insurance will not be charged. It is part of the provider vaccination agreement that each provider must sign to receive any vaccine for distribution.

How do COVID-19 vaccines work?

The first available COVID-19 vaccines work by triggering the immune system to produce antibodies. These antibodies protect us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies. Antibodies are our bodies’ natural defense against diseases.

Does the vaccine keep me from getting COVID-19?

To be approved, a vaccine must be effective. The FDA requires that any vaccine be greater than 50% effective at preventing COVID-19.  Clinical trial data has shown the COVID-19 vaccines currently approved are very effective (up to 95 percent) in preventing COVID-19, particularly preventing the most severe cases of this virus.

The vaccine will be most effective in protecting you if you receive both doses in the series. If you only receive the first dose, you won't be as well-protected from COVID-19 as you could be.

In addition to receiving the vaccine, it is also important to keep wearing a mask and social distancing because:

  1. Not everyone will get the vaccine at once.
  2. Although it is not likely, it is still possible to get COVID-19 after getting the vaccine, as no vaccine is 100 percent effective.
  3. We're currently not sure yet how long the vaccine will protect you from COVID-19. Wearing a mask and practicing social distancing provides additional protection.
How many doses will I need?

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines — and all but one of the COVID-19 vaccines that are currently in Phase 3 clinical trials in the United States — require two doses. The first dose starts building protection and the second dose, given a few weeks later, is needed to get the most protection the vaccine has to offer. For the Pfizer vaccine, the second dose will be three weeks after the first. For the Moderna vaccine, it will be four weeks later.

It is important that you get both doses. If you don't, you won't be as well-protected from COVID-19 as you could be.

Protection from the vaccine is not immediate. It will take one to two weeks following the second dose to be considered fully vaccinated and receive the highest level of protection (about 95%).

Do I have to keep wearing a mask if I get vaccinated?

The current answer is yes. Masks, physical distancing, testing, contact tracing, and vaccinations must all be combined to eliminate COVID-19. No strategy is 100% effective, including the vaccine. Until the number of cases of COVID-19 in our community is low enough to prevent spread, all prevention strategies will need to be used.

There is still much to be learned about how much vaccination may reduce the disease, severity, or transmission, and how long protection lasts. So vaccinated persons should continue to follow all current guidance to protect themselves and others, including:

  1. wearing a mask
  2. staying at least 6 feet away from others
  3. avoiding crowds
  4. washing hands often with water and soap or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  5. following Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel guidance
  6. following CDC's quarantine guidance after an exposure to someone with COVID-19, and
  7. following any applicable workplace or school guidance.
If I had COVID-19 already, do I need to get vaccinated?

COVID-19 vaccination should be offered regardless of history of prior symptomatic or asymptomatic COVID-19 infection. However, vaccination should be deferred until recovery from acute illness (if the person had symptoms) and criteria have been met to discontinue isolation.

There is no minimal interval between infection and vaccination. However, current evidence suggests reinfection is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection. For that reason, those with documented acute infection in the preceding 90 days may defer vaccination until the end of this period, if they want.

Healthcare providers have said they are still providing the vaccine to their staff who have had COVID-19 previously.

How do we know if the vaccine is safe?

A vaccine must be safe and effective for the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to approve it.  Vaccines go through more testing than any other pharmaceuticals or medicines. Before any vaccine is approved and made available, it must go through rigorous development and testing. Manufacturing is critical — every dose must consistently be of high quality.

Additionally, extensive testing in clinical trials is conducted to prove safety. First, small groups of people receive the trial vaccine. Next, the vaccine is given to people with particular characteristics (for example, age and physical health). Then, the vaccine is given to tens of thousands of people and tested for effectiveness and safety.

Of the more than 70,000 people who participated in the COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials:

  • 10 percent were Black, and
  • 13 percent were Hispanic/Latinx participants.

There were no serious safety concerns noted in the studies of these vaccines.

After that, the data is reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA along with an independent board, the Centers for Disease Control's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, approves the vaccine and makes its recommendations for use. These bodies are the final safeguards for the public. They ensure that any vaccine is both safe and effective.

Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine or spread COVID-19 from the vaccine?

No, you cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine or spread COVID-19 from the vaccine. The vaccine doesn't actually contain the virus that causes COVID-19. That means the vaccine itself won't cause you to get or spread COVID-19.

What are potential side effects of the vaccine?

Some people in the clinical trials reported mild side effects, which are signs the immune system is working. Soreness or redness at the injection site is the most common reaction. Reported side effects also include:

  • headaches
  • fatigue
  • fever
  • chills
  • muscle pain, and
  • pain in joints.

For some people, these side effects were worse after the second dose.

Side effects from a vaccine usually go away on their own within a few days. You can take an over-the counter medicine, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to manage side effects. However, it is recommended that you avoid taking these medications right before getting your vaccine.

After receiving the vaccine, you will be instructed on how to manage these symptoms.

Everyone who gets the vaccine will be watched for 15 minutes after the injection to make sure they do not have any signs of an immediate adverse or allergic reaction. People who have severe allergies to other vaccines or injectable medications are watched for 30 minutes.

There have been no serious safety concerns, including deaths, noted in the studies of these vaccines.

Should I get the vaccine if I have allergies?

There are many types of allergies and many people with allergies should get vaccinated. Per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there have been reports that some people have experienced severe allergic respiratory reactions — also known as anaphylaxis — after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. As an example, an allergic reaction is considered severe when a person needs to be treated with epinephrine or EpiPen, or if they must go to the hospital.

If you have had an immediate allergic reaction — even if it was not severe — to a vaccine or injectable therapy for another disease, ask your healthcare provider if you should get a COVID-19 vaccine. Your healthcare provider will help you decide if it is safe for you to get vaccinated. If you have allergies not related to vaccines, CDC recommends that people with a history of severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications get vaccinated. These include food, pet, venom, environmental, or latex allergies. People with a history of allergies to oral medications, or a family history of severe allergic reactions, may also get vaccinated.

Everyone who gets the vaccine will be watched for 15 minutes after the injection to make sure they do not have any signs of an allergic reaction. People who have severe allergies to other vaccines or injectable medications will be watched for 30 minutes.

The vaccine does not contain any food products, including eggs and does not include metals. Once you are able to get the vaccine, talk to your allergist if you have concerns.

Can children and infants get the COVID vaccine?

The Pfizer vaccine is approved for ages 16 years and older. The Moderna vaccine is approved for ages 18 years and older.

Some of the manufacturers have begun clinical trials on kids ages 12 and older. But, no vaccine for children under the age of 16 has been approved yet. It will still be a couple of months to get through those trials and then get approval to administer to children.

We haven't seen anything on clinical trials for children 12 years and younger.

Can pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding take the COVID-19 vaccine?

Studies are ongoing regarding the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant women and there is not data yet.

We do know that the COVID-19 vaccine is not a "live" vaccine. It does not enter the cells of the developing baby. In addition, we know that pregnant women who develop COVID-19 have an increased risk of severe illness. They may also have an increased risk of poor pregnancy outcomes, like pre-term labor.

Pregnant women should discuss the risks and benefits of her healthcare provider to help them make an informed decision.

Given the differences between the different types and brands of vaccines, will it be communicated which vaccine patients are getting?

Yes, you will know which vaccine you are receiving. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and the CDC have emphasized that primary care physicians should have that conversation with their patients that are concerned about any of the vaccines.

Due to vaccine availability, patients will not be able to choose which vaccines they receive. The two available vaccines are similar, in that they both require two doses and are both over 90% effective.

An individual must receive the same vaccine for both doses. There is not enough information to note if full efficacy is achieved with two doses of different vaccines.

Have there been complications found or warnings issued for those who've already taken the flu vaccine?

We are not aware that any warnings have been issued. But we are monitoring closely and will communicate further information that becomes available as necessary.

What do we really know about potential long-term effects?

Long-term effects are monitored for all vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccines. The effects documented to date are short-term and typical of many vaccines.

Does the vaccine affect fertility?

There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine affects fertility. In the safety data from the Pfizer trial, the same proportion of people got pregnant in the vaccine group as the placebo group. Based on this, the vaccine is recommended even if you are planning to get pregnant soon.

What do we know about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

As of December 28, 2020, large-scale (Phase 3) clinical trials are in progress or being planned for three COVID-19 vaccines in the United States. This includes the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

What about the new strain out of Europe? What do we know about it being in the US?

In the United Kingdom (UK), a new variant has emerged with an unusually large number of mutations. This variant seems to spread more easily and quickly than other variants. Currently, there is no evidence that it causes more severe illness or increased risk of death. This variant was first detected in September 2020. It has since been detected in numerous countries around the world, including the United States and Canada.

CDC, in collaboration with other public health agencies, is monitoring the situation closely. CDC is working to:

  • detect and characterize emerging viral variants, and
  • expand its ability to look for COVID-19 and new variants.

At this time, the same strategies to prevent the original COVID-19 strain will also prevent the new strain. This includes:

  • mask wearing
  • social distancing, and
  • frequent hand washing.

Most experts believe that the COVID-19 vaccine will still be effective in preventing the new variant.

Is COVID-19 vaccine like flu or chicken pox vaccine? Will have to take it again?

The need for and timing of booster doses for COVID-19 vaccines have not been established. No additional doses beyond the two-dose primary series are recommended at this time.

Will the vaccine stay in my body or enter my DNA?

COVID-19 mRNA vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way. Messenger RNA vaccines — also called mRNA vaccines — are the first COVID-19 vaccines allowed to be used in the United States. mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. The COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work with the body's natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease. At the end of the process, our bodies have learned how to protect against future infection. That immune response and making antibodies is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies. The cell breaks down and gets rid of the mRNA soon after it is finished using the instructions.

My health condition isn't addressed here. How do I know if the vaccine is safe for me?

If you have concerns about taking the COID-19 vaccine, talk to your healthcare provider.

Do the vaccines work in older adults?

Yes. Older adults should get vaccinated because they are at high risk of hospitalization, illness, and death from COVID-19.