Beginning today Massachusetts residents 55+ and residents with one certain medical condition are eligible for COVID-19 vaccine. With these new groups becoming eligible today, the Berkshire Vaccine Collaborative has announced that it will open appointments in Pittsfield, North Adams, and Great Barrington at 6pm this evening. Those looking to make an appointment should go to maimmunizations.org prior to that time to get into the waiting room.

According to a press release from the Baker/Polito Administration, Massachusetts will be abiding by the CDC’s updated list of medical conditions. This week, the CDC added more medical conditions that are linked to an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. You can see the full list HERE.

Massachusetts has adopted this guidance which makes individuals eligible starting today (April 5th) if they have one of these medical conditions. As a result of adopting the CDC’s list, more residents are also now eligible.

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Eligible residents will be able to receive vaccine at any of the Commonwealth’s over 300 vaccination locations, including 269 pharmacy locations. With these new groups, more than 1 million additional residents will be eligible for vaccine in the Commonwealth.

The full timeline is available at mass.gov/COVIDVaccinePhases

The Administration was informed last week of a one-time increased shipment of 100,000 J&J vaccines due to arrive in the state early this week. Depending on supply from the federal government, it could take weeks for people to be notified that an appointment is available at a mass vaccination site.

Individuals can learn more about the Commonwealth’s vaccination sites and pre-registration by visiting vaxfinder.mass.gov.

In accordance with CDC guidelines, the Commonwealth has adopted recent additions to the list of conditions that cause individuals to be at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

Individuals with one of the following conditions are eligible on Monday, April 5th:

  • 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

For individuals that have already pre-registered but would like to update their information to reflect the new medical conditions recognized by the CDC and Massachusetts as of today: The administration is building a feature for individuals to edit their submission that will be made available soon.

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.