Boston ElderINFO

What you need to know about the COVID-19 Vaccine

This has been a challenging year, but the COVID-19 vaccine offers a brighter future for us all. Making that future a reality means that everyone needs to be protected against the COVID-19 virus by being vaccinated at the earliest opportunity. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is our best chance to stop the pandemic.

Rest assured Boston ElderINFO is here to help you navigate the vaccination process and remain safe and healthy during this difficult time. Below you will find reliable information and resources on the following topics:

For more information or if you need assistance, contact Boston ElderINFO at 617-292-6211 to speak with an information specialist.

Is the vaccine free?

Yes. You will not be charged to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. It is provided free of charge by the federal government. You do not need to be insured to receive the vaccine. Please note that you will never be asked for a credit card number to make an appointment.

How many vaccine doses are there?

The current COVID-19 vaccine requires two doses. Individuals will not be fully vaccinated until they receive both doses, and both doses should be administered at the same location.

Is the vaccine safe?

Yes. The same safety measures used for developing all vaccines were followed for the COVID vaccine. Tens of thousands participated in vaccine trials to prove that it is safe. Since then, millions of people of different races and ethnicities have gotten vaccinated and only experienced mild side effects.

When can I get the vaccine?

We are now in Phase 2 of the state’s COVID-19 timeline (shown below). That means Individuals age 75 and older as well as those age 65-74 with two or more medical conditions and residents and staff of senior housing can get the COVID-19 vaccine. Shown below is the state’s timeline for vaccination:

Where can I get the vaccine?

Boston residents, who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, can call the state’s information line 3-1-1 or 2-1-1 for assistance with scheduling a vaccination appointment.

Or, you can visit to book your appointment. Visit the state’s website for additional COVID-19 vaccine information. All vaccination locations currently require appointments and the state is cautioning it may take several weeks to get an appointment. Family members may assist in booking appointments for someone eligible who may need assistance with the scheduling process.

Frequently Asked Questions

May undocumented immigrants receive the vaccine free?

Yes. The vaccine itself is free for all Massachusetts residents. Health insurance (including Medicare and Medicaid) will cover the cost of administering the vaccine. For patients without health insurance, health care providers may request reimbursement from the federal government for the cost of administering vaccine to undocumented immigrants.

Can you still get the vaccine without an ID card?

Yes. You can get the COVID-19 vaccine even if you do not have insurance, a driver’s license or a Social Security number. For more information, visit How to prepare for your COVID-19 vaccine appointment.

Will getting the vaccine negatively affect a person’s immigration status?

No. The federal government has confirmed that it will not consider COVID-19 treatment (including a vaccine) as part of a determination of whether someone is a “public charge” or as it relates to the public benefit condition for certain individuals seeking an extension of stay or change of status, even if the vaccine is paid for by Medicaid or other federal funds.

Is a person’s vaccination record protected from disclosure?

The Department of Public Health will maintain an electronic record of each patient in Massachusetts who receives the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine database is kept confidential like a patient’s medical record with her doctor.

Will the COVID-19 vaccine be mandatory?

The Department of Public Health is not mandating the COVID-19 vaccine. It is a voluntary program. The COVID-19 vaccine has been shown to be highly effective at preventing illness and it is an important tool in the fight against the pandemic.

Will I need to be tested for COVID-19 before getting the vaccine?

No, a COVID-19 test is not needed before getting the vaccine.

Why would a vaccine be needed if we can do other things, like social distancing and wearing masks, to prevent the virus that causes COVID-19 from spreading?

Stopping the COVID-19 pandemic requires using all the tools available. Vaccines work with your immune system so your body will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. Other steps, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask and staying at least 6 feet away from others, help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19. (source: Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination | CDC as of 12/21/20)