CHESLEA (CBS) – East Boston Neighborhood Center and The Chelsea Collaborative, or La Colaborativa, are teaming up to open the city’s first truly local COVID-19 vaccine clinic.

The first appointments will be Thursday at 9 a.m. at 318 Broadway in Chelsea, and the full schedule will be announced at a news conference midday Thursday.

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Chelsea is one of the hardest hit communities in Massachusetts, spending months in the COVID “red zone” with sky-high infection rates compared to other parts of the state.

“We are a community that is 71 percent Latin immigrants and we are very used to getting vaccinations in our native countries,” La Colaborativa Chief Operating Officer Dinanyili Paulino told WBZ. “I do think that one of the issues is going to be the lack of trust between our community and state officials.”

Paulino told WBZ that by having the vaccines available at a clinic already trusted by locals, she and other leaders are hopeful people will be encouraged to get the vaccine. “It’s about on the ground work with people the community trusts,” she said.

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Others are encouraging their communities to get vaccinated as well. Longtime Boston Spanish Radio host Jose Rios of WUNR received his first shot at Boston Medical Center Wednesday.

“To me, it’s a miracle,” he said.

Rios nearly died of COVID-19 back in March of 2020. He slipped into a coma, and when he came out of the hospital, had to go to rehab to learn how to walk again.

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Now, he’s using his radio platform to encourage people in Massachusetts’ Spanish speaking communities to get vaccinated. “I want to be the voice to tell my people please use a mask,” he said. “Get the vaccine. In other words, save yourself.”

Kristina Rex