Following updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Baker-Polito Administration announces that all Massachusetts residents ages 5-11 are eligible to receive a Pfizer COVID-19 booster. The booster should be administered at least five months after completion of a primary COVID-19 vaccine series to provide continued protection against COVID-19.
Children ages 5 to 11 are able to receive the Pfizer Pediatric COVID-19 booster from hundreds of locations across the Commonwealth, ranging from retail pharmacies, primary care practices, community health centers, hospital systems, state-supported vaccination sites and mobile clinics.
“Just as it does for adults, getting a booster dose will provide continued protection for this age group against COVID-19 and its variants, and that’s good news,” said DPH Chief Medical Officer Estevan Garcia. “As a pediatrician and as a parent, I want to stress that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 is safe and effective in preventing severe illness and hospitalizations in children, and I encourage parents and families to get their children boosted and contact their health care provider if they have any questions.”
How to find a pediatric COVID-19 booster appointment:
Parents who prefer to have their child vaccinated by their primary care provider should call their provider’s office directly.
Visit the VaxFinder tool at vaxfinder.mass.gov for a full list of hundreds of available locations. Residents will be able to narrow results to search for locations offering the Pfizer pediatric COVID-19 vaccine, with some appointments available now for booking. Additional appointments will be available online in the coming days. Many locations will be booking appointments out weeks in advance.
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 PM, Saturday and Sunday 9 AM – 2 PM) is available by calling 2-1-1. The COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Line is available in English and Spanish and has translators available in approximately 100 additional languages.
The COVID-19 booster is safe, effective, and free. Additional information on the COVID-booster, including FAQs, can be found at mass.gov/covidvaccinekids .
Vaccines are widely available across the Commonwealth and the best protection against COVID-19 is remaining up to date on vaccinations and boosters. A fully vaccinated person is much less likely to get sick or spread the virus that causes COVID-19, especially if they have their booster shot. Learn more at https://www.mass.gov/covid-19-vaccine
Mayor Thomas Koch announces that the city’s annual Flag Day Parade and fireworks spectacular will take place on Saturday, June 11th. The parade will step off at 7 p.m. in Quincy Center and the fireworks will launch over Black’s Creek starting just after 9 p.m.
This year’s parade will feature bands, floats, color guards, specialty units, and hundreds of flag-waving youngsters from the numerous youth groups in the city. The parade steps off on Coddington Street, heads north on Hancock Street, before turning down Merrymount Parkway and ending at Adams Field.
“Flag Day is the unofficial start of the summer season in Quincy,” Koch said. “The patriotism, the traditions, and the participation of so many members of our community make this a truly special event. It’s great to see our community come together as one to celebrate our nation’s flag and all the good that it represents. I look forward to seeing everyone at the parade.”
The Quincy Flag Day Parade is the longest running Flag Day parade in the country, beginning in 1952. Richard Koch started the Flag Day Parade by marching the young people from the youth organization The Koch Club through Norfolk Downs. Koch’s goal was to encourage patriotism in young people and let them participate in the parade and not just spectate. That tradition continues 71 years later.
This year the fireworks will return to Black’s Creek. The fireworks were cancelled in 2020 due to COVID and moved to Quincy Bay in 2021 to allow for more people to spread out while watching the amazing display.
The Parade Committee will also be honoring a Grand Marshal and the annual Richard J. and Simone G. Koch Youth Service Award winner during the parade. Those award winners will be announced next week.
Added Mayor Koch: “Pageant Field in Merrymount Park is a great spot to watch the fireworks with the giant 50’ by 80’ flag flying in the foreground. The intimacy of the site is unlike any other place that you can watch fireworks.”
US Attorney Rachael Rollins has begun an investigation to see if Quincy’s opposition to Boston’s proposal to rebuild the Long Island Bridge runs afoul of federal law that provides protection to people with substance-use disorders.
In a statement, Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch said his office would cooperate with the federal investigation. He reiterated that Quincy does not oppose Boston’s proposed recovery campus on Long Island, and is willing to work cooperatively with its neighbor to the north on the “broader issue of opioid treatment and recovery.”
In a letter to Koch earlier this month, Rollins said her office was “initiating an investigation” to determine if Quincy had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, which provides protections for people with substance-use disorders, by opposing Boston’s proposal to rebuild the bridge. Boston has said the bridge is necessary to access a planned recovery campus on Long Island.
“Pursuant to our authority under the ADA, we are investigating the City of Quincy’s various efforts regarding the reconstruction of the Long Island Bridge,” Rollins said in her letter.
“This includes, but is not limited to, the Quincy Conservation Commission’s denial of an Order of Conditions for rebuilding the bridge, the Quincy City Council’s enactment of new permitting requirements for bridges, and the Quincy City Council’s enactment of restrictions on vehicular access to Moon Island.”
In her letter, Rollins said the investigation was in its “preliminary stage” and Quincy officials had 30 days to turn over the information she had requested to prosecutors.
A spokesperson for the US attorney declined to comment on the investigation.
In January 2018, then Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced plans to rebuild the Long Island Bridge and open a recovery campus on Long Island. The bridge would connect Long Island to Moon Island, the latter of which is within Quincy’s city limits, though fully owned by Boston, and accessible only via Squantum. The original Long Island Bridge was closed without warning in 2014 and demolished the following year.
In the spring of 2018, the Quincy City Council approved two ordinances related to Boston’s proposal to rebuild the bridge.
The first banned non-passenger vehicles from two Squantum streets that provide access to Moon Island. Boston Police and Fire Department vehicles traveling to and from Moon Island are exempt from the ban, as are delivery vehicles servicing residents of those two streets and the Nickerson Post.
Secondly, the council approved an amendment to Quincy’s zoning code that requires the Planning Board grant a special permit before any new bridge can be built in the city. One bridge – the Generals Bridge in Quincy Center – has undergone that permitting process since the change was made to the zoning code.
That same year, the Quincy Conservation Commission rejected Boston’s proposal to rebuild the bridge, saying Boston did not provide adequate information about the project. That rejection is the subject of ongoing litigation between the two cities.
In his statement, Koch said his office would cooperate with federal prosecutors.
“First and foremost, we’ll be happy to work cooperatively with the US Attorney’s inquiry and provide any and all information that has been requested,” Koch said. “All we have right now is an information request, so it is hard to speak on specifics, or what further action may lie ahead.
“We have told Boston officials we are willing to work with them toward a solution, and we have also said from Day One that the City of Quincy does not object to the plan to restore the treatment campus on Long Island. The issues are access points through Squantum that Boston’s own analysis stated were inadequate and the flawed bridge proposal that poses practical and environmental issues that the Quincy community has every right to raise.”
Quincy has asked Boston for information relative to its planned recovery campus on Long Island, Koch continued, but Boston officials have not been forthcoming with that information. Koch said he was hopeful his administration could learn more about the proposal by working with the US attorney.
“The US Attorney’s Office is concerned that Quincy’s efforts relate to the recovery campus. The fact is Boston has shared very little with Quincy officials about what they intend to do on the Island, and all we have asked for is information,” Koch said. “Much of what we learned has been through third parties, and Boston sought and won a court order to prevent us from discussing this information. We hope that, working with the US Attorney, we can all learn more about what is planned, and together develop a plan that will work for Boston and Quincy and the broader issue of opioid treatment and recovery.
“On that broader issue, I simply will not accept any premise that suggests Quincy has not done its part to protect and support the most vulnerable members of our community. We take a backseat to no one on this issue, and the record is clear. That includes millions of dollars of investment for a treatment center and recovery services; nationally recognized, first-of-a-kind interdiction programs; and millions of dollars more to help create a housing resource center that will be a statewide model for ending the tragic cycle of homelessness.
“Far from discriminating against people suffering from addiction, this community is a leader in the Commonwealth and the nation in providing life-saving and life-changing services to our residents. It’s a story we will be happy to share as this process moves forward.”
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) Wednesday (May 18) confirmed a single case of monkeypox virus infection in an adult male with recent travel to Canada.
Initial testing was completed late Tuesday (May 17) at the State Public Health Laboratory in Jamaica Plain and confirmatory testing was completed May 18 at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). DPH is working closely with the CDC, relevant local boards of health, and the patient’s health care providers to identify individuals who may have been in contact with the patient while he was infectious. This contact tracing approach is the most appropriate given the nature and transmission of the virus.
The case poses no risk to the public, and the individual is hospitalized and in good condition.
Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious viral illness that typically begins with flu-like illness and swelling of the lymph nodes and progresses to a rash on the face and body. Most infections last 2-to-4 weeks. In parts of central and west Africa where monkeypox occurs, people can be exposed through bites or scratches from rodents and small mammals, preparing wild game, or having contact with an infected animal or possibly animal products. The virus does not spread easily between people; transmission can occur through contact with body fluids, monkeypox sores, items that have been contaminated with fluids or sores (clothing, bedding, etc.), or through respiratory droplets following prolonged face-to-face contact.
No monkeypox cases have previously been identified in the United States in 2022; Texas and Maryland each reported a case in 2021 in people with recent travel to Nigeria. Since early May 2022, the United Kingdom has identified 9 cases of monkeypox; the first case had recently traveled to Nigeria. None of the other cases have reported recent travel. UK health officials report that the most recent cases in the UK are in men who have sex with men.
Based on findings of the Massachusetts case and the recent cases in the UK, clinicians should consider a diagnosis of monkeypox in people who present with an otherwise unexplained rash and 1) traveled, in the last 30 days, to a country that has recently had confirmed or suspected cases of monkeypox 2) report contact with a person or people with confirmed or suspected monkeypox, or 3) is a man who reports sexual contact with other men. This clinical guidance is consistent with recommendations from UK health officials and US federal health officials, based on identified cases.
Suspected cases may present with early flu-like symptoms and progress to lesions that may begin on one site on the body and spread to other parts. Illness could be clinically confused with a sexually transmitted infection like syphilis or herpes, or with varicella zoster virus. The CDC plans to issue public informationsoon on poxvirus infections which, when available, will be found here.
Norfolk County Sheriff Patrick McDermott announces his office will be honoring Norfolk County’s fallen heroes with a “Flags of Our Families” flag installation ceremony in Braintree May 29.
The installation will allow families and friends who wish to honor a loved one who gave their life to submit a name which will be attached to a flag in the person’s honor. The flags will be displayed on the lawn of the Braintree Public Safety Complex, where a ceremony will be held to honor the memory of those who passed.
“The men and women of the armed services who gave their lives to defend America and its values deserve our utmost honor and thanks,” Sheriff McDermott said. “The ‘Flags of our Families’ event is one small way to honor the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice, and the Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office is proud to be able to provide a space for people to pay tribute to the memories of their loved ones.”
Families and friends who wish to honor a loved one can email Outreach@NorfolkSheriffMA.org to submit a name. The name will be printed and attached to a flag. The Sheriff’s Office requests that names be submitted no later than Wednesday, May 25th. The flags will be installed the week prior to Memorial Day.
The public is invited to attend a short ceremony to honor the fallen heroes on Sunday, May 29th, at 9 a.m. at the Braintree Public Safety Complex, located at 2015 Washington St. in Braintree.