Boston Residents Encouraged to Get Updated COVID-19 Boosters During Holiday Season

Flu shots also strongly recommended 

BOSTON – December 2, 2022 – This holiday season, the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) encourages residents to get their COVID-19 booster and annual flu vaccination. Boston’s updated booster rate is lagging as COVID-19 indicators trend upward. Family gatherings and more time spent indoors during the winter will further increase the risk of getting COVID-19, as well as other transmissible diseases like the flu and RSV. In addition to getting boosted, BPHC reminds residents that masking indoors is very effective for lowering the risk of contracting respiratory viral illnesses.  

As of November 29, the concentration of COVID-19 particles in local wastewater increased by 66% over the past week, and by 70% over the past two weeks. COVID-19 cases have increased by 14% during the past two weeks (as of 11/28), and Boston also experienced a 24% increase in new COVID-19 related hospitalizations (as of 11/30). Only 11% of residents have received the new omicron-specific, bivalent booster. Those who have not gotten them are vulnerable to severe illness and hospitalization. A sudden influx of COVID-19 related hospitalizations would put even greater pressure on hospitals and providers. 

In addition to low overall uptake, there are clear racial disparities in bivalent booster rates. Only 7% of Latinx and 9% of Black residents have received the bivalent booster, as compared to 11% of AAPI residents and 13% of white residents.  

“Much like the original vaccine series, COVID-19 boosters are safe, effective, and widely available 7-days of the week at free clinics operated by the City of Boston.” said Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, Commissioner of Public Health and Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission. “Let’s prioritize staying healthy this holiday season. In addition to masking indoors, one of the easiest and most effective ways to do that is by getting a COVID-19 booster and an annual flu shot.” 

The updated boosters provide the broadest level of protection against COVID-19, including the omicron variant. If it has been at least two months since you received your last vaccine dose, you should get a bivalent booster as soon as possible for added immunity. They are available for everyone ages 5 and older.  

To make vital COVID-19 resources more accessible to improve health equity and to ensure these services are in place are readily available, BPHC operates several free, walk-in clinics that offer COVID-19 testing, vaccines, boosters, and flu shots. No insurance, no IDs, and no appointments are needed at these sites. 

  • BCYF Hyde Park Community Center: 1179 River St, Hyde Park. Open Tuesdays from 12-8pm; Thursdays from 9am-5pm.  
  • Bruce C. Bolling Building: 2302 Washington St, Roxbury. Open Tuesdays-Saturdays from 12-8pm.  
  • Josephine Fiorentino Community Center: 123 Antwerp St, Brighton. Open Sundays from 12-4pm; Mondays-Wednesdays from 9am-3pm; and Thursdays from 5-9pm.  
  • Lena Park Community Development Corporation: 150 American Legion Hwy, Dorchester. Open Sundays from 10am-2pm; Mondays from 9:30am-5:30pm; Wednesdays from 12-7pm; and Fridays from 9:30am-5:30pm.  

For more information about where to find a COVID-19 vaccination or testing clinic near you, visit boston.gov/covid19.   

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