Photo: 5280
COVID-19 vaccine in Colorado, Massachusett. Photo: 5280

The effort to distribute COVID-19 vaccines is underway in Colorado, Massachusett and across the United States. After a slow start, the federal government is working to increase the supply of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, and states are working to become more efficient in administering them.

How to get COVID-19 vaccine in Massachusett

Schedule appointments

It may take several weeks to schedule appointments because of high demand and limited supply. Vaccines are being offered at several different types of locations: mass vaccination sites, pharmacies and local vaccination sites.

Details for booking can be found via the COVID-19 Vaccine Finder, which enables residents to search for a vaccination location and view appointment availability before scheduling. The tool can be accessed via the state’s vaccination website at www.mass.gov/COVIDvaccine or directly at https://vaxfinder.mass.gov.

Massachusetts’ COVID-19 vaccine appointment portal temporarily crashed last week as more than one million additional state residents became eligible to schedule a shot. Anyone unable to access appointments via the internet can call 211, the COVID-19 vaccination hotline, to get help scheduling an appointment.

Those people will have the option of going on a "call-back list" will be called when an appointment becomes available, Nbcboston noted.

Mass. Vaccination Sites

Photo: Chalkbeat
Photo: Chalkbeat

There are currently five mass vaccination sites in Massachusetts, with a sixth slated to open later this week. The Natick Mall opened as the state's newest mass vaccination site Monday, joining Gillette Stadium, Fenway Park, the DoubleTree in Danvers and the Eastfield Mall in Springfield. The former Circuit City in Dartmouth is slated to open on Feb. 24.

There are currently over 170 vaccination locations across the Commonwealth. Almost 95% of the state's population lives within a 45-minute drive of a mass vaccination site or within 30 minutes of a regional, high volume site -- not counting the pharmacies, provider and community health center vaccination sites.

How to get COVID-19 vaccine in Colorado

Photo: Rollingstone
Photo: Rollingstone

Schedule appointments

In Colorado, Walmart and Sam's Club pharmacies also have started administering COVID-19 vaccines through the federal retail pharmacy program. Eligible customers can schedule a vaccine appointment via the Walmart and Sam's Club websites. People having trouble getting vaccines can call this number: 877-268-2926 (CO-VAX-CO).

Also, the an employee at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has created an appointment search tool called the Colorado COVID-19 Vaccine Finder, that may be helpful for finding an appointment.

It's worth mentioning that you can get vaccinated in any county, and are not required to get the shot in the community you live in. The vaccine is free, and providers should not ask you to pay for the vaccine or other administrative costs, though they may bill your insurance.

IDs are not required when registered, but people may be asked to verify their ages or healthcare worker / first responder status.

Colorado Vaccination Sites

Colorado county vaccine locator: A list of vaccine locations by county is available on the state COVID-19 website and is updated regularly. Call the health department for assistance in registering for a vaccine at 877-268-2926.

Retail pharmacies: Walmart, Safeway (sign up to receive general updates about the vaccine at Safeway) and Kroger are offering vaccinations to eligible Coloradans. Search for openings and sign up online.

Health centers and community providers: UCHealth has an online vaccine appointment portal. For help, call the hotline at 720-462-2255 (for Spanish call 844-945-2508) Monday through Friday 7 am to 6 pm and Saturday and Sunday 8 am to 4:30 pm. You can register online for a vaccine at the Metro Community Provider Network in Englewood. Appointments for those who are eligible are also available online at the Denver Health and Hospitals Authority and the Plan De Salud Del Valle in Fort Lipton, States Aarp listed.

What to do next?

Photo: Labblog Uofmhealth
Photo: Labblog Uofmhealth

Nope, getting a vaccine isn't suddenly a get-out-of-jail-free card from wearing a mask or practicing social distancing. Although it's clear that the vaccines being distributed in the U.S. protect the recipient, scientists can't say for certain whether they prevent someone who is vaccinated from spreading COVID-19 to others.

Some studies have shown that vaccines seem to prevent at least some transmission of COVID-19, but proving this is difficult because infections in certain regions could drop due to other factors, such as human behavior.

Nevertheless, the CDC said people who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 might be able to skip quarantining if they've been exposed to someone infected with the virus. Typically, people are told to quarantine for 14 days after exposure.

There are some caveats to this, including if the person who is vaccinated is showing symptoms, in which case they should quarantine and get tested. The criteria also requires the person to be fully vaccinated, meaning it's been at least two weeks since their second dose in a two-dose series like Pfizer and Moderna, or more than two weeks after a single-dose vaccine.a

* Click here for more information about COVID-19 vaccine updates

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