In an effort to make the COVID-19 vaccine more accessible to residents 75 and older, Massachusetts plans to begin this week by allowing anyone who accompanies an eligible senior to one of the state's mass vaccination sites to receive a shot themselves.

Effective today, at mass vaccination sites (larger sites that handle a higher volume) a single individual accompanying a person age 75 or older to get the vaccine may schedule their own appointment to be vaccinated on the same day.

There are four 'mass-vacation' sites across Massachusetts. The closest to Berkshire County is located in Springfield, however, according to The Berkshire Eagle "the new guidelines, which primarily are targeted at mass-vaccination sites, also apply to Berkshire County's three public clinics, according to local vaccine coordinators."

This is not retroactive, meaning individuals who previously brought someone 75 and older to a clinic are not eligible, however, a person may receive their first dose of the vaccine if the 75 or older resident is receiving their second dose.

Individuals planning on taking advantage of the new plan must still make an appointment for themselves for the same day.

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Gov. Charlie Baker and Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said the new accommodation for trusted family, friends, neighbors, or caregivers to get vaccinated along with vulnerable seniors came after consultation with councils on aging and other advocated for older adults.

To schedule appointments for a 75 or older resident and a caregiver, go to mass.gov/covidvaccine and schedule two separate appointments at either the same time or adjacent. For the companion appointment, select the option "I am accompanying someone who is age 75+ to their vaccination appointment and my appointment is the same day." Anyone without internet access can call 211 for assistance booking both appointments.

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.

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