General Orders

Headline:

State health officials and doctors are encouraging people 12 and older to receive the updated COVID booster as well as a flu shot for better protection this fall and winter.

Last-reviewed: 9am, Sept. 22, 2022

Key Resource:

The Basics

  • The national Public Health Emergency (PHE) Declaration regarding COVID-19 is effective through October 13, 2022. Another PHE extension into 2023 is expected.
  • All people ages 6 months and older who live, work or study in MA are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine and those older than 5 can also get a booster. Updated boosters recommended by the CDC are available in Massachusetts for people ages 12 and older. Find additional information on mass.gov.
  • Review DPH’s updated COVID-19 isolation and exposure guidance here.
  • Options for in-home and laboratory COVID-19 testing are available throughout the state. Find additional information on mass.gov.
  • This fall, MA will distribute an additional 5 million rapid COVID-19 tests.
  • Find vaccine clinics, including walk-in booster sites, on the City of Boston’s COVID-19 web page

The Breakdown

  • MA has adopted the CDC’s isolation and quarantine guidelines. People who test positive for COVID-19 are advised to isolate for 5 days. If a person is exposed to someone with COVID, they do not need to quarantine as long as they remain asymptomatic. For additional information, see the full guidance.
  • COVID-19 vaccines are available for all people age 6 months and older. Find a vaccine distribution location online or by calling Mass 2-1-1.
  • COVID-19 boosters are available for people ages 5 and older who received their vaccination(s) from Pfizer or Moderna at least 5 months ago or from Johnson & Johnson at least 2 months ago. A second COVID-19 booster is available for MA residents who are 50 and older, as well as those who are immunocompromised. The CDC recommends  that children and adults receive an updated booster from Pfizer for people ages 12 years and older or from Moderna for people ages 18 years and older. Learn more about booster eligibility here.
  • Find additional information on COVID-19 vaccines and boosters on the COVID-19 Vaccine and Booster Information page.
  • People who received COVID-19 vaccinations in MA can visit myvaxrecords.mass.gov to request an electronic SMART Health Card that can be used as proof of vaccination.
  • Free COVID-19 testing is available throughout the state. For additional information, visit the Find a COVID-19 Test page.
  • This fall, MA will distribute an additional 5 million rapid COVID-19 tests, including 3.5 million tests to cities and towns for their residents and 1.5 million tests to food banks for the vulnerable populations that they serve.
  • Most insurers are required to cover 8 at-home COVID-19 tests per month. Insurers can choose to have people pay up-front for tests and submit their receipt with a claim for reimbursement of up to $12.00 per test. For additional information, read the full HHS announcement. Individuals should also check with their healthcare insurer for details. 
  • Free at-home COVID-19 tests are available from Labcorp for MA residents who live or work in congregate care, have symptoms of COVID-19, or had a recent contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
  • MassHealth and Health Safety Net members may qualify for curb-to-curb transportation to vaccine, booster, and testing appointments. Members should ask their doctor to submit a transportation request (i.e., a “PT-1 form”). If they have difficulty with the process, they can also call 1-800-841-2900.
  • The MA DPH advises unvaccinated people and vaccinated people who are immunocompromised (or live with someone who is immunocompromised) to wear masks indoors. Read the full DPH Advisory for additional details.
  • The CDC recommends masks based on COVID-19 community level. Check the local community level and mask recommendation on the CDC website.
  • Masks are still required in healthcare facilities and in congregate care settings (e.g., prisons and assisted living homes). As of April 18, 2022, masks are no longer required on public transportation except for The RIDE (the MBTA’s paratransit service). See the full DPH Advisory for additional details.
  • Anyone can report violations of mask mandates or other public health concerns to their local Board of Health and the MA Dept. of Labor Standards.
  • Free N95 masks are available on a first come, first served basis at many local pharmacies and community health centers. For a full list of pharmacies that will be distributing masks, visit CDC Find Free Masks.
  • MA residents can sign up on AlertsMA for COVID-19 alerts by text, email or phone or on MassNotify for notifications of possible exposures to COVID-19.

The Bottom Line

  • People ages 6 months+ are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines and people ages 5+ are eligible for boosters. Updated boosters are now available for people ages 12 and older.
  • Find updates on COVID-19 and related state policies on mass.gov.