COVID-19 Vaccination Update from The Arc of Massachusetts

The Arc of Massachusetts has two updates to share regarding vaccines and boosters from colleagues at the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and our state’s Developmental Disabilities Network.

The first note is about disability vaccine friendly sites and options; please note volunteers are needed too. The second note is an update about boosters from DDS and the Commonwealth.

I. Disability-friendly vaccine sites or mobile events can be found by going to https://vaxabilities.com/

  • Organized by UMass Medical and Shriver Center in cooperation with our Developmental Disabilities Network (which also includes ICI, MDDC, and DLC). These events are scheduled to take place across the Commonwealth after the anticipated approval of the COVID vaccine for 5-11-year-olds this month.
  • The goal of these events is to support people with sensory and/or other accommodation needs in Massachusetts to have the most positive and comfortable vaccination experience possible.
  • We will accomplish this by bringing in clinicians with sensory training to partner with vaccinating clinicians, physical tools to assist with numbing and distraction, strategies for positioning and distraction, and the assistance of volunteers to help with logistics and engagement. Most events will offer vaccines to both children and adults.

We also want to note that planners are hoping for clinicians and volunteers to sign up for the upcoming “VaxAbilities” disability-friendly vaccine events! Currently, they are looking for:

  1. Sensory-trained clinicians who will partner with vaccine-administrating clinicians to understand and use strategies to support the sensory needs and accommodations children or adults may have through the vaccination process (paid or volunteer)
  2. Pediatricians on-site to answer parent and child questions about the COVID19 vaccine (paid or volunteer)
  3. Volunteers that can help direct visitors, help engage children as they wait for vaccines, hand out distractor items/toys, assist with vaccine station cleaning and collect survey responses, etc.

Check out event dates so far at this link: https://vaxabilities.com/disability-friend-vaccine-events/

You may sign up through this link: https://umassmed.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8D1evpLnFj041IG

II. Update on Booster Shots

  1. Per CDC guidance, booster shots are now approved for certain people for all three available vaccines: J&J (Janssen), Moderna, and Pfizer. This means all individuals and staff (age 18+) residing in, attending, or working in congregate care and day programs are eligible for a booster shot.
  2. Please note:
    1. Mixing of vaccine formulations is now allowed, per CDC guidance.
    2. If you received two shots of Moderna or Pfizer, you may receive a booster of J&J, Moderna, or Pfizer 6 months after your second shot.
    3. If you received one shot of J&J, you may receive a booster of J&J, Moderna, or Pfizer 2 months after your first shot.
    4. For additional information and FAQs visit mass.gov/COVID19booster
  3. To ensure all congregate care and shelter sites receive the booster support that they need, we are requesting that your organization complete a brief, recurring survey, once per week, by Friday @ 5PM. If there are no changes since your last survey, no need to submit it again. Each organization should only submit one response (i.e. no need to submit a response for each site or program). This survey is intended to identify where support is needed and to provide a high-level view into your organization’s booster progress.

Please reach out to asya.rozental2@mass.gov with any questions or concerns.

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