State to vaccinate those in congregate care sites, prisons

Facilities including shelters, educational schools with residential services, low-income housing for the elderly and prisons will now be included in Phase 1.

BOSTON — Massachusetts will start vaccinating individuals living and working in congregate care facilities and prisons on Monday, Gov. Charlie Baker said at a Statehouse press conference Wednesday.

The facilities include residential congregate care programs, groups homes, residential treatment programs, community-based acute residential treatment programs and clinical stabilization programs.

Shelter programs — including homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, veteran shelters — will also be included, as will approved private and special education schools.

“These facilities are prioritized because they serve vulnerable populations in densely populated settings which means they are at significant risk of contracting COVID-19,” Baker said. “The staff is also at high risk of exposure at these facilities.”

There are about 94,000 individuals who will be eligible to receive vaccines as part of the congregate care group.

State prisons will also start receiving vaccines next week. There are about 6,500 inmates in the prisons.

Baker defended the decision to vaccinate prisoners.

He said people living in close quarters are at high risk, including prisoners. Baker said that there are about 4,500 employees who work at the prisons who are also at risk and will be able to get vaccinated at the same time, Baker said.

There are also other non-prisoners who come in and out of the facilities, including lawyers, advocates and family members, he added.

There are plans to create more mass vaccination sites like the one at Gillette Stadium, which is expected to vaccinate up to 5,000 people a day and serve the general public when allowed.


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