State ramps up flu vaccination efforts; adds COVID-19 testing sites

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State ramps up flu vaccination efforts; adds COVID-19 testing sites

Officials in Massachusetts are ramping up flu vaccination efforts and COVID-19 testing as students across the state head back to school. “As we continue to fight COVID-19, it is critical that we do everything we can to minimize the impact of the flu and other respiratory illnesses,” Gov. Charlie Baker said.Baker said health care workers said it would be “incredibly difficult to manage” if the flu hits at the same time as a second surge of coronavirus.The governor said as students return to class, keeping kids healthy and in class is “one of the most important” things officials can do. Flu shots are required for all students in Massachusetts schools, from child care through colleges.CVS is offering flu shots at hundreds of locations across the state. Children ages 9 and above can get immunized at any CVS location, and children ages 18 months and above can receive an immunization at MinuteClinic. Students older than 6 months will have to be vaccinated by Dec. 31, unless either a medical or religious exemption is provided. Students who are home-schooled are exempt from the policy, but health officials said students at elementary and secondary schools that are using a remote learning model are not exempt.College or university students who are entirely off-campus will also be exempt from the mandate.CVS has also announced plans to add more than 2,000 new COVID-19 drive-thru test sites at select CVS Pharmacy locations across the country, including 12 new sites in Massachusetts.The Bay State will now have 51 COVID-19 testing sites.

BOSTON —

Officials in Massachusetts are ramping up flu vaccination efforts and COVID-19 testing as students across the state head back to school.

“As we continue to fight COVID-19, it is critical that we do everything we can to minimize the impact of the flu and other respiratory illnesses,” Gov. Charlie Baker said.

Baker said health care workers said it would be “incredibly difficult to manage” if the flu hits at the same time as a second surge of coronavirus.

The governor said as students return to class, keeping kids healthy and in class is “one of the most important” things officials can do.

Flu shots are required for all students in Massachusetts schools, from child care through colleges.

CVS is offering flu shots at hundreds of locations across the state. Children ages 9 and above can get immunized at any CVS location, and children ages 18 months and above can receive an immunization at MinuteClinic.

Students older than 6 months will have to be vaccinated by Dec. 31, unless either a medical or religious exemption is provided.

Students who are home-schooled are exempt from the policy, but health officials said students at elementary and secondary schools that are using a remote learning model are not exempt.

College or university students who are entirely off-campus will also be exempt from the mandate.

CVS has also announced plans to add more than 2,000 new COVID-19 drive-thru test sites at select CVS Pharmacy locations across the country, including 12 new sites in Massachusetts.

The Bay State will now have 51 COVID-19 testing sites.

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