By Paul Burton

BOSTON (CBS) – The vaccination site at the Reggie Lewis Center is expanding, but its mission will not change. The site will now be a mass vaccination site, but many of the appointments will be reserved for people of color.

It’s all part of the state’s comprehensive equity initiative.

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“To enable the vaccination to be distributed all of our communities, especially those who have been most disproportionately affected by COVID,” CIC Chairman Dr. Atul Gawande said.

Gov. Charlie Baker said the state is second in the nation with respect to the percent of Black residents who have been vaccinated and above the national average for the Hispanic population. But one big challenge has been getting people to trust the vaccine.

Dr. Shahrzad Slater, the wife of New England Patriot Matthew Slater, is Senior Vice President of a Pharmaceutical and Biological consulting company called LMK Clinical Research Consulting.

Speaking alongside Moderna executives and doctors, she’s been focusing her efforts on educating schools and community organizations of color about the vaccine, including the Epiphany School in Dorchester.

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“I am providing information so they can make empowered informed decisions,” Dr. Slater said. “I just give all that medical jargon, translated it into English, into layman’s terms, so they can understand it for themselves. And they would be able to make empowered decisions for themselves, the best decisions for themselves and their families.”

Michelle Sanchez, the president of the Epiphany School, thinks Dr. Slater’s efforts are making a difference.

“It was incredibly effective. I got lots of teachers, who are like, ‘Ok, I’m ready, I was really scared. I was able to ask the right questions,’” Sanchez said.

Friday was the soft launch at the Reggie Lewis Center as a mass vaccination site. Soon, it will be vaccinating 2,500 people a day and reaching out to community organizations to make sure those who live in this community have access.

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“I think it is so important to be there for the community, especially the communities that have been hardest hit by COVID,” Founder Boston Community Pediatrics Founder Robyn Riseberg said. “So I love that Reggie Lewis is doing this.”

Paul Burton