By Beth Germano

CHELSEA (CBS) – A new coronavirus vaccine clinic is now open in Chelsea, one of the hardest hit communities in Massachusetts. Since the pandemic began Chelsea has seen more then 7,500 cases and last week had a positivity rate of 11.4 percent, one of the highest in the state.

Blanca Fromeda finally got her vaccination at the site located in the offices of the community service organization La Colaborativa. “I’m so happy to have this, thank you, thank you everybody,” she said.

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The site was up and running in two days this week in collaboration with the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, and hopes to administer at least 500 doses a day. “I heard about it today, and got an appointment today. I’ve been trying for quite a while,” said Susan Magura.

La Colaborativa is an organization that’s been advocating for itself since the outbreak of the pandemic, and setting up the vaccination site is no different said La Colaborativa Executive Director Gladys Vega. “We were the epicenter, so I’m not asking for much. I’m asking for more resources for communities drastically impacted by the pandemic and I said put us on the top of the list once the vaccine gets released,” said Vega.

She believes the location can serve as a model to get more vaccine into communities of need and sites that are more convenient. For now organizers say they want to cater to Chelsea still in the red zone.

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“At least temporarily we decided not to place it on the state website to make sure only Chelsea residents had access to the site,” said Manny Lopes, CEO of East Boston Neighborhood Health Center.

Terry Yannetti who brought her 101-year-old mother Helena to the site and said she’s been nervous and struggling to get an appointment. “I’ve been trying, calling the numbers and going on line, it’s been difficult,” she said.

It’s not just easier access to the vaccine but also trust, says Vega, especially in a city with many immigrants and undocumented workers. “This is an organization that is trusted, they know we do everything in our power to make things happen for them,” she said.

Vega says they’ll also use grassroots techniques like door knocking and offering rides to make sure residents get to the location.

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Visit Mass.Gov/CovidVaccine to find out when you’re eligible and to book an appointment.

Beth Germano