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Town Of Brookline Cautions Seniors Against One-Time “Companion” Offers Related To CoViD-19 Vaccines

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Council on Aging Director Ruthann Dobek and Public Health Commissioner Dr. Swannie Jett are urging seniors to avoid connecting with strangers offering to serve as a “companion” in order to obtain the vaccinations alongside eligible seniors.

Under new state rules, those who are identified as companions of individuals age 75 and over are now permitted to accompany those seniors to appointments at state-run CoViD-19 vaccination sites, and be vaccinated as well. The Town of Brookline has become aware of instances in which otherwise ineligible individuals are offering rides, help with making appointments, monetary compensation, etc. to seniors in order to get vaccinated.

“While some of these offers may be well-intentioned, we strongly recommend that seniors utilize official resources in order to obtain help making and getting to vaccine appointments, rather than taking offers from unknown people. We have a rigorous protocol for screening volunteers that must be followed” Dobek said. “Ultimately, the state’s vaccine timeline was developed to ensure those most in need are immunized first. It is inappropriate for younger, otherwise healthy people to attempt to ‘jump the line’ by misrepresenting themselves as companions of those who are eligible. The state’s new protocol does offer relief for family members and other caregivers to bring their loved ones to state-run sites.”

Older adults in need of transportation to vaccination appointments and other support regarding the vaccine are encouraged to call the Senior Center at 617-730-2770, or e-mail info@brooklineseniorcenter.org.

Residents in need of additional support related to obtaining the vaccine, such as making an appointment or learning more about where they can be vaccinated, are urged to call either the Brookline CoViD-19 Call Center at 617-879-5636 Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 02:00 p.m. Brookline residents can express interest in being vaccinated by filling out the form here.

They may also seek help from the state’s 211 hotline for those 75 and over by dialing 211 and selecting the prompt for “Help Scheduling a Vaccine Appointment.” The hotline is only available for residents 75 and older without internet access or who otherwise cannot use the appointment website, and will take calls Monday through Friday from 08:30 a.m. to 05:00 p.m.

Callers will be able to speak with a representative who will help them find a nearby vaccination location and make an appointment. The nearest mass vaccination sites are at Fenway Park, 4 Jersey Street, Boston, and at the Reggie Lewis Center, 1350 Tremont Street, Roxbury. Translators will be available to assist as well.

Residents 75 and older with internet access should continue seeking an appointment online through the state’s website by visiting here. Residents eligible for the vaccine are also advised to contact their local pharmacy and primary care provider to learn about other potential opportunities available for vaccination.

Avoid Scams Related to CoViD-19 and the Vaccine

Older residents are encouraged to be mindful of potential scams tied to the pandemic, including vaccines. There is no cost to patients to receive the vaccination, so residents should disregard any offers to provide the vaccine in exchange for a fee.

In general, you should never provide personal information to anyone who calls you unsolicited — including your name, date of birth, social security number, bank account numbers, driver’s license number, nor anything else that could be used to compromise your identity.

Additional Resources for Brookline Residents The Department of Public Health is committed to supporting Brookline residents as they navigate the vaccination process.

Residents who have general questions about the vaccine, including those who are in need of help scheduling an appointment, are encouraged to use the Town’s CoViD-19 call center. The call center is open weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 02:00 p.m. until further notice. The number for the call center is 617-879-5636. Those who call after hours may leave a voicemail and their messages will be returned when the call center is open. Questions may also be submitted via e-mail to vaccine@brooklinema.gov.

Additionally, the Town of Brookline has made answers to frequently asked questions available on its CoViD-19 portal, which can be accessed directly by visiting here. The town will share Brookline-specific information here as it becomes available.

Learn More About Vaccines The Baker/Polito Administration on Friday announced the “Trust the Facts, Get the Vax” campaign to educate the public about the need for vaccinations, the safety of the vaccines and the science behind them. Videos with leading doctors and scientists will be available in 10 languages here.

Vaccinations are not expected to be available to the general public until April through the state’s distribution plan. To view the plan, please visit here. Once the vaccine is available for distribution by the Town, staff at the Call Center will be available to assist residents with the registration process.