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Baker-Polito Administration Launches Tool for Residents to Access COVID-19 Digital Vaccine Card

“My Vax Records” Provides New Option to Access Vaccine History and QR Code to Verify COVID-19 Vaccination

BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced a tool that gives residents a new way to access their COVID-19 digital vaccine card and vaccination history. The new tool, called My Vax Records, allows people who received their vaccination in Massachusetts to access their own vaccination history and generate a COVID-19 digital vaccine card, which would contain similar vaccination information to a paper CDC card. The COVID-19 digital vaccine cards produced by the system utilize the SMART Health Card platform and generate a QR code that can be used to verify vaccination.  The Administration is not requiring residents to show proof of vaccination to enter any venue, but this tool will help residents who would like to access and produce a digital copy of their record.

Access the new tool at MyVaxRecords.Mass.Gov.

How It Works: The new tool is easy to use: a person enters their name, date of birth, and mobile phone number or email associated with their vaccine record. After creating a 4-digit PIN, the user receives a link to their vaccine record that will open upon re-entry of the PIN.

The electronic record shows the same information as a paper CDC vaccine card: name, date of birth, date of vaccinations, and vaccine manufacturer. It also includes a QR code that makes these same details readable by a QR scanner, including smartphone apps. Once the SMART Health Card is received, users are able to save the QR code to their phone, such as the Apple Wallet, screenshot the information and save it to their phone’s photos, or print out a copy for a paper record. The system follows national standards for security and privacy.

This system provides an optional way that residents can access their vaccination information and a COVID-19 digital vaccine card. This will provide residents with another tool to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination, should it be requested by businesses, local governments, or other entities.

The system leverages the Massachusetts Immunization Information System (MIIS), the official database used by health care providers across the state to record vaccination information. The system relies on hundreds of providers inputting demographic and health information. Some users may not be able to immediately find their record, or may find an incomplete record. Residents whose record cannot be found or is incomplete can either contact their health care provider or contact the MIIS team to update their records. Learn more about the tool and view frequently-asked-questions atwww.mass.gov/myvaxrecord.

Massachusetts has worked with VCI,™ a voluntary coalition of public and private organizations which developed the open-source SMART Health Card Framework in use by other states. The VCI coalition is dedicated to improving privacy and security of patient information, making medical records portable and reducing healthcare fraud.

My Vax Records is just one way residents can obtain their COVID vaccination record. Pharmacies that administered the COVID vaccine and many health care providers also are making SMART Health Cards available, or are providing additional options. Learn more.

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Two Residents Rescued as Nahant Fire Department Battles House Fire 

NAHANT — Fire Chief Austin Antrim and Police Chief Timothy Furlong reports that the Nahant police officers and firefighters responded to a house fire in which residents were reported trapped inside late Thursday evening.

Firefighters responded to a single story house at 8 Maple Ave at 11:53 a.m.  As fire units were responding, Nahant Police Officers on patrol in the area arrived and reported that residents were still inside the building and may be trapped. A working fire response was requested, sending a full complement of Nahant firefighters and mutual aid from surrounding communities to the scene.

The first arriving police officers, including Officer Gino Spelta, Sergeant Michael Waters, Sargent Andy Constantine and Officer Ethan Abramowitz entered the home and found an adult man, sitting in a wheelchair, trapped in the bathroom.

Officer Spelta entered the bathroom by breaking a window. Moments later, Nahant Engine 31 and Chief Antrim also arrived on scene and reported heavy fire coming from the attic.

Nahant Firefighters Frank Pappalardo and Matthew Canty from Engine 31 forced entry through the front door, carrying a hose line and made their way to the bathroom where the group of first responders carried the resident out the front door. The police officers carried the man to an arriving ambulance as the firefighters turned their attentions back to fighting the fire. 

Firefighter Canty then resumed attacking the fire inside the structure as Firefighter Pappalardo moved forward into the home to search for anyone else who may be trapped inside.

Firefighter Pappalardo soon located a woman, identified as a resident, trapped in the kitchen on the floor.  He and Firefighter Canty picked up the woman and carried her outside to another ambulance.

Both residents were transported to Massachusetts General Hospital. 

Firefighters from Lynn, Swampscott and Marblehead responded to provide mutual aid. The fire units worked hard in a densely populated neighborhood with a narrow street to efficiently establish a water supply and evacuation route for ambulances. 

One firefighter was injured when pieces of ceiling fell onto a group of firefighters. The injured firefighter was treated at the scene, refused transport and returned to fighting the fire.

In addition to the mutual aid fire units, assistance was also received from Atlantic Ambulance and Rehab 5 which provided water, lighting  and other aid to first responders. 

The home sustained major damage and will be uninhabitable indefinitely.

“This would have been a worse tragedy if not for the quick action by Nahant Firefighters and Nahant Police to locate and remove two residents,” said Chief Antrim.  “Power strips and extension cords offer convenience, but they aren’t intended for constant use. Powering many devices at once can overload and overheat them, causing an electrical fire. Always use a cord that’s rated for the wattage of whatever you’re powering, and if you’re using an extension cord outdoors be sure it’s marked for outdoor use.”

The exact cause of the fire remains under investigation by the Nahant Fire Department and the State Police Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit assigned to the State Fire Marshal’s office. Investigators determined that it began in the front left corner of the living room, where numerous power strips, extension cords, and electrical devices were observed.

This was the second serious fire in less than a week in Nahant. Firefighters responded to 41 Wharf St. at 3:51 a.m. on Saturday Dec. 18 for a report of a building fire. Upon arrival at the two story residential home, firefighters had heavy fire and visible damage to the structure The home was unoccupied at the time and no injuries were reported.  The cause of the first fire has been ruled accidental.

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Breakthrough Case Review Finds 97% of COVID-19 Cases in Vaccinated Individuals Don’t Result in Severe Illness

BOSTON (December 20, 2021) – Today the Massachusetts Department of Public Health released a review of breakthrough COVID-19 cases in vaccinated Massachusetts residents and found nearly 97% of all breakthrough cases in the Commonwealth have not resulted in hospitalization or death. Additionally, the review found unvaccinated residents are five times more likely to become infected than fully vaccinated residents (two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or one dose of Johnson & Johnson) and unvaccinated residents are 31 times more likely to become infected than fully vaccinated residents who have received a booster.

The review also found that 99.9% of breakthrough cases among fully vaccinated people under the age of 60 did not result in death. Among the breakthrough cases for residents over the age of 60, 97% did not result in death. No deaths have been reported in breakthrough cases among those under age 30.

“The data are clear. This review shows that fully vaccinated people in Massachusetts have near-universal protection from severe illness and death and that boosters are demonstrating even stronger protection from COVID,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. “Amid the season of gathering indoors and the emerging Omicron variant, the time to get vaccinated and boosted is now. It is the best gift of protection for yourself and your loved ones.”

“Vaccination continues to be the most effective tool we have against Omicron and all COVID-19 variants,” said Acting DPH Commissioner Margret Cooke. “The data indicates that fully vaccinated and boosted individuals are well protected from severe outcomes of COVID-19, including hospitalization and death, and the Department of Public Health strongly urges all residents to get vaccinated and, when appropriate, get a booster.”

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Town of Nahant Remembers Former Selectmen McIlveen

Nahant- Former Selectman Robert J McIlveen, age 94, passed away at home on December 18, 2021. Bob served on the Board of Selectmen from 1994 to 1997. Throughout his tenure he served alongside Selectmen Richard Lombard, Robert Forman and Michael Manning. “It was a pleasure serving with Bob” said former Selectman Richie Lombard, “He genuinely loved the Town of Nahant”. Selectmen McIlveen worked with Town Administrator Michael Wood and was on the Board of Selectmen for the hiring of Town Administrator Mark Cullinan. “Bob was extremely knowledgeable and a tremendous Selectman for the Town” said now Selectman Mark Cullinan. During his time as Selectman, he helped navigate the Town through some difficult financial times. In the early to mid 90’s, the Town was recovering from a financial deficit, in need of major capital infrastructure investments, and absorbing the impacts of the Education Reform Act of 1993. He also served during the effort to save Valley Road School. In his honor, the Town of Nahant will fly the American Flag at half-mast and display mourning buntings on the Town Hall. 

COVID 19 VACCINE AND BOOSTER OPPORTUNITIES

Nahant Residents only, that are 18 years old and up, can register for a booster clinic that is occurring, this Thursday, December 16th, 4 to 6 PM, at the Nahant Town Hall. The registration link can be found on the Public Health Department Page on Nahant.org. All vaccine boosters are available. Walk-in opportunities may be available but are not guaranteed. Pre-registration is highly encouraged due to the limited amount of boosters available.

Residents of Nahant and Lynn can also utilize the booster clinic hosted at Lynn City Hall every Monday and Friday throughout the month of December. Monday hours are 4 to 7 PM and Friday hours are 9 to 11:30 AM. Pre-registration is required and can be found on the Public Health Department Page on Nahant.org. https://nahant.org/publichealth/

Vaxfinder.mass.gov is a great resource to find vaccine and booster locations across the Commonwealth.

You must bring your vaccine card with you to any of these clinics. 

Lastly, the Town of Nahant and the Johnson Elementary School, has partnered with Cataldo to offer a vaccine clinic that prioritizes student aged children and their parents or guardians.

A first dose clinic occurred on November 30th, and the 2nd dose clinic is scheduled for Tuesday, December 21st, 3 to 8 PM at the Nahant Town Hall.

5 to 18 year old children who received their first dose at the November 30th clinic should have received a registration link via email for the December 21st clinic.

For student aged children that did not attend the November 30th clinic, there is not a pre-registration option for the December 21st clinic. However, school aged children, and their parents or guardians, looking to attend the December 21st clinic for 1st dose, 2nd dose, or booster, are welcome to walk in. However, please know that availability of the vaccine or booster for non-registered patients is limited.

Omicron Variant Detected in Massachusetts

Residents urged to get COVID-19 vaccine, booster

Note: The following is a press release from Gov. Baker’s office:

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced that genetic sequencing has identified the COVID-19 Omicron variant for the first time in a case in Massachusetts. The individual is a female in her 20s and a resident of Middlesex County who traveled out of state. She is fully vaccinated, has experienced mild disease, and did not require hospitalization. The variant was identified through sequencing performed at New England Biolabs.

While Omicron is classified by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization as a Variant of Concern, scientists are still working to determine how it may compare with the predominant Delta variant in terms of transmissibility and disease severity. There is some limited evidence that Omicron could be more transmissible than other COVID-19 virus variants, including Delta. This variant is being monitored closely by public health authorities around the world, and more information about what we know about Omicron is available on the CDC website.

All three COVID-19 vaccines in use in the U.S have been shown to be highly protective against severe disease resulting in hospitalization or death due to known COVID-19 variants and remain the single best way for people to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their community from COVID-19. There are over 1,000 locations across the Commonwealth to get vaccinated or receive a booster. The vaccine is free, and no ID or insurance is required for vaccination. Visit vaxfinder.mass.gov for a list of vaccination locations.

Other public health prevention measures that help stop the spread of COVID-19 variants include: getting tested and staying home if you are sick, frequent handwashing or use of hand sanitizer, following masking requirements, and telling your close contacts if you test positive for COVID-19 so they can take appropriate steps. To learn more about protecting yourself from COVID-19, visit www.mass.gov/covidvaccine.

Residents are also urged to enable MassNotify on their smartphone. The service can be accessed through both Android and iPhone settings; it is NOT an application that can be obtained through an app store. This private and anonymous service notifies users of a potential exposure to COVID-19 so they may take the appropriate precautions. For more information and instructions on enabling MassNotify on your smartphone, visit https://www.mass.gov/info-details/learn-more-about-massnotify.

The State Public Health Laboratory, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and several hospital and academic laboratories have all contributed to sequencing efforts in Massachusetts during the pandemic. This sequencing data contributes to the tracking of clusters and patterns of disease spread. This in-state laboratory capacity to sequence variants allows Massachusetts to not have to rely on out-of-state laboratories.

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Baker-Polito Administration Encourages COVID-19 Boosters for All Fully Vaccinated Individuals 18+

BOSTON– Today the Baker-Polito Administration announced that effective immediately, all Massachusetts residents aged 18 and over are eligible to get a COVID-19 booster six months after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or two months since receiving a Johnson & Johnson single dose vaccine.

Massachusetts residents can access booster doses from more than 1,000 locations, with appointments available now for booking across the Commonwealth. CDC recommendations allow for mixing and matching of different COVID-19 booster doses, and eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. The Administration recommends that residents with questions about which booster is right for them should ask their health care provider for advice.

How to Get a Booster:

  1. Visit the Vaxfinder tool at vaxfinder.mass.gov for a full list of locations to receive a booster. Residents are able to narrow results to search for locations that are offering boosters. Many locations will be booking appointments out weeks in advance.
  2. For individuals who are unable to use Vaxfinder, or have difficulty accessing the internet, the COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Line (Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM, Saturday and Sunday 9AM-2PM) by calling 2-1-1 and following the prompts is available for assistance. The COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Line is available in English and Spanish and has translators available in approximately 100 additional languages.

Vaccines are widely available across the Commonwealth. Getting vaccinated remains the most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves, their families, and their community.

The COVID-19 booster is safe, effective, and free. Individuals do not need an ID or health insurance to access a booster and do not need to show a vaccine card when getting a booster.  Additional information on the COVID-booster, including FAQs, can be found at mass.gov/COVID19booster.

Massachusetts leads the nation in vaccine administration, with over 94% of adults having received at least one dose, and over 81% of the total population fully vaccinated, over 4.8 million individuals. Over 800,000 residents have received a COVID booster.

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