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Boston Public Health Commission Urges Residents To Get Updated COVID-19 Vaccine

Updated CDC guidance aims to prevent the spread of viral respiratory illnesses impacts in Boston.

Following the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) release of updated recommendations for how people can protect themselves and their communities from respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) wants to remind Boston residents to stay up to date on vaccines, especially those who are 65 and older or immunocompromised, and to wear a mask in public when sick to protect others.  

The updated recommendations to reduce the risk of transmission of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, influenza (flu), and RSV are to stay home until your symptoms improve and it has been 24-hours since you have had a fever, without the use of fever-reducing medication. Once returning to normal activities, people should continue to take additional precautions for the next five days, including wearing a well-fitted mask. 

 These updates come following a decrease in rates of hospitalization and death associated with respiratory illness, and more specifically COVID-19. 

“Respiratory viral illnesses remain a public health threat, but we have tools to protect against severe illness,” said Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, Commissioner of Public Health and Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission. “The most important is vaccination against COVID-19, flu, and RSV which is the best way to prevent hospitalization, protect ourselves and our communities, and to ensure that our health care resources won’t become overwhelmed as they have in the past.” 

Using DPH data, BPHC found from July 2023 to now, only 20% of people in Boston have received an updated COVID-19 vaccine. The data also show only 40% of people in Boston have received a flu vaccine. It is particularly important for people aged 65 and older or immunocompromised to receive updated vaccine doses this spring. They should get vaccinated if it’s been more than four months since their last vaccination or three months after having COVID-19. 

Residents are encouraged to contact their healthcare provider, visit a local pharmacy, or visit the CDC’s Vaccine Finder to find an accessible vaccine clinic. The City-run COVID-19 and flu vaccine clinics will close for the spring on Friday, April 12. 

  • Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building – 2300 Washington St., Roxbury 

    • Open Thursdays – Saturdays from 12-6 pm 

  • Boston City Hall – 1 City Hall Square, Room 115 

    • Open Mondays from 7am – 1pm and Wednesdays from 12 –5 pm 

It is important to keep in mind that people can still spread viruses even when feeling better. Taking enhanced precautions, including wearing a mask in public when sick, are especially important for protecting those who are most at risk, including adults aged 60 and older, children younger than 5 years old, pregnant people, and people with chronic medical conditions. Enhanced precautions include: 

  • Wear a mask: 

    • For five days after being sick. 

    • If you must leave the house while sick. 

    • If you are at high risk of severe illness. 

  • Have COVID-19 rapid test kits available at home to test if you have symptoms of COVID-19. Free test kits and walk-in and by-appointment test sites are still available throughout the City. 

  • Seek treatment from a trusted healthcare provider if you test positive for COVID-19 or flu and are at high risk for severe disease and/or illness.  

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.  

  • Regularly disinfect and clean high tough surfaces.  

  • Increase indoor ventilation and air circulation, even cracking open a window helps increase airflow. 

BPHC has health education materials with safety and prevention tips on COVID-19, flu, and RSV are available in 12 languages. Visit to learn more. 

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