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Atrius Health COVID-19 Vaccine Availability Update

Updated Tuesday, April 13, 2021.

Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) Vaccine Administration Pause

As of April 13, 2021, Atrius Health has paused use of the (Janssen) Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The CDC and FDA made a recommendation to pause the use of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, out of an abundance of caution. The pause is to allow their further investigation into 6 reported cases (of 6.8 million people to date who have received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine) of a rare and severe blood clotting event occurring within 13 days after receiving the vaccine.

Per the FDA and CDC recommendations, people who received a Johnson and Johnson vaccine within the prior three weeks and experience symptoms including severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath should contact their health care provider.

Over 180 million doses have been administered in the United States of the two other approved COVID-19 vaccines made by Moderna and Pfizer. The CDC and FDA have not had any reports of similar clotting events with these two mRNA vaccines. At the present time, people who have received these vaccines do not need to take any precautionary steps. People who have received a first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine are encouraged to receive the second dose on schedule.

We will continue to closely monitor the Johnson and Johnson vaccine situation and share any additional guidance. The CDC will convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Wednesday, April 14, 2021, to further review these cases.

Massachusetts COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Timeline

  • April 5th: Residents 55+ and residents with one certain medical condition 
  • April 19th: General public ages 16 years of age and older
The complete vaccination timeline is available at mass.gov/COVIDVaccinePhases.

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Atrius Health Vaccine Availability

Atrius Health is receiving a limited vaccine supply each week from the state. As we receive doses, we outreach to eligible patients, including those on our waitlist, by phone, text and MyHealth to invite them to schedule appointments. As vaccine supply continues to improve over the coming weeks, we look forward to offering more vaccination appointments to as many Atrius Health patients as possible. Based on high demand and limited supply, we expect that it may take several weeks for patients to receive a vaccination appointment offer at one of our regional vaccination centers [currently Boston (Kenmore), Chelmsford, Norwood and Plymouth]. We continue to encourage you to pursue all options for vaccination, such as mass vaccination sites and retail pharmacies, where larger supplies of vaccine and appointments are available. All vaccination locations are listed on the COVID-19 Vaccine Finder website.

The state has primarily supplied us with the Moderna vaccine. Moderna is a two-dose vaccine approved for people 18 and older. Based on the vaccine sent to us by the state, we are only able to vaccinate patients 18 and older.

Expanded Medical Conditions for Severe Illness from COVID-19

The CDC has updated the list of conditions that can make individuals more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19. In Massachusetts, individuals with two or more of these conditions listed below are currently eligible to be vaccinated. On Monday, April 5th, individuals aged 55 and older or individuals with one of these conditions will be eligible:
  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic lung diseases, including COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asthma (moderate-to-severe), interstitial lung disease, cystic fibrosis, and pulmonary hypertension
  • Dementia or other neurological conditions
  • Diabetes (type 1 or type 2)
  • Down syndrome
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies or hypertension
  • HIV infection
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system)
  • Liver disease
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease or thalassemia
  • Smoking, current or former
  • Solid organ or blood stem cell transplant
  • Stroke or cerebrovascular disease, which affects blood flow to the brain
  • Substance use disorders
COVID-19 Homebound Vaccination Program

The state has launched an in-home vaccination program for homebound people who are not able to leave their home to get to a vaccination site, even with assistance. If you or your loved one is eligible for an in-home vaccination, you can call the Homebound Vaccination Central Intake Line at (833) 983-0485. You will be able to speak with a representative who will ask questions to determine if an in-home vaccination is appropriate. If in-home vaccination is appropriate, you will be registered with the State Homebound Vaccine Provider or referred to your local Board of Health to schedule an appointment.

Benefits of Vaccination

Atrius Health strongly recommends you get the COVID-19 vaccine at any location when it is available to you. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and one of the best ways to protect yourself and those around you from getting sick from COVID-19. Vaccination helps end the pandemic and enables each of us to start doing some things we enjoy. We are sharing some of the most recent guidance from the CDC and Massachusetts Department of Public Health that is applicable to fully vaccinated individuals below.
 
If you’ve been fully vaccinated:
  • You can gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask.
  • You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.
    • However, if you live in a group setting (like a correctional or detention facility or group home) and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still stay away from others for 14 days and get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.
    • If you are a healthcare worker, you should contact your organization’s Employee Health department for specific testing or quarantine recommendations. 
  • The Massachusetts Travel Advisory states that visitors entering Massachusetts are advised to quarantine for 10 days upon their arrival or produce a negative test result. However, there is an exemption to this travel advisory for people who are fully vaccinated (i.e., who have received two doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines OR who have received a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, at least 14 days ago) and who do not have symptoms.
Even after you are fully vaccinated, you should still take steps to protect yourself and others in many situations, like wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces.