BOSTON (CBS) – The top 20 cities and towns in the state hardest hit by the coronavirus will be the focus of a new Department of Public Health vaccine outreach initiative and receive $1 million through the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers.
The initiative is focused on the cities and towns with the highest COVID-19 case burden, taking into account the disproportionate impact of the virus on communities of color.READ MORE: The Roaring 2020s? A Look At What The Post-Pandemic Economy Could Look Like
These communities are Boston, Brockton, Chelsea, Everett, Fall River, Fitchburg, Framingham, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Methuen, New Bedford, Randolph, Revere, Springfield, and Worcester.
“This approach is centered on equity, a core pillar of our vaccine distribution. Our goal is to work in collaboration with our local communities, to meet people where they are, and to reduce barriers – both physical and otherwise – to getting the COVID vaccine,” said Public Health Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel in a statement.
In Chelsea, executive director of La Colaborativa, Gladys Vega, says the state can assist with vaccine hesitancy.READ MORE: Police Search For Suspect After Report Of Shots Fired At Salem Walmart
“People are skeptical about how newly the vaccine was created and made and then made rapidly available,” Vega said. “Eighty percent of our workforce works in the service industry. I want them to get vaccinated right away so they can go back to their jobs and have cash in their pockets.”
Brockton Neighborhood Health Center COO Maria Celli says Brockton could use assistance transporting its residents to larger vaccine sites.
“The mass vaccination sites that can really have huge impacts are hard to get to for our people,” Celli said.
The new DPH initiative will support a tailored community-based approach around the individual needs identified by each municipality. As part of the outreach, a DPH Community Liaison will work with each city or town.MORE NEWS: Massachusetts Reopening Plan: COVID Restrictions Loosen Monday, Including Restaurant Capacity
Visit Mass.Gov/CovidVaccine to find out when you’re eligible and to book an appointment.