Local public health organizations hope to replace the lowest vaccination rates in the city with small-scale pop-up vaccination clinics throughout the neighborhood.
“We decided to come to where people are going to be on Saturday, which is the food basket of (grocery) America,” said Dr Kristin Price, site lead and community program director at Brigham and Brookside Community Health Center. About the clinic held on Saturday. “(We) are trying to eliminate any barriers to make it as easy as possible for people.”
She said no appointments, insurance or identification cards are required, which she has heard is a deterrent for people, including undocumented immigrants, at other sites.
Fatima Ali-Salam, president of the Greater Mattapan Community Council, said that Matapan’s vaccination rate – just 39.9% of residents fully vaccinated compared to the South End’s 72.5% – has stalled because of residents’ distrust of the government.
“You’re talking about a high immigrant population that can come from countries where you have even less trust in the government, and that’s with them,” she said. He said social media has been “the biggest blockade of misinformation” about the vaccine.
He added that local public health organizations are “really begging … for people to understand that this is a crisis.”
A spokeswoman for Brigham & Women’s Hospital said more than 100 people stopped at the booth Saturday for information about vaccines or took free masks, and 26 people were given their choice of Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. The clinic will return to the same site three weeks later for people to receive a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine or to receive their first dose.
Nurses and other outreach workers asked passersby if they were interested in getting vaccinated and gave them information in both English and Haitian-Creole. He also offered incentives to those who received their vaccines, including $25 grocery store gift cards, masks, hand sanitizer, and books for kids and other school supplies, which one volunteer said back-to-back. There were “hot items” for parents before school. Weather.
Sabina Jean Blanc, a bilingual outreach, said, “Helping them understand in their own language brings it a little closer, because maybe they have questions, and they’re not comfortable asking, and they want to ask it in their native language.” ” Activists for the Boston Public Health Commission and the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition.
“There is a certain ambivalence with vaccination throughout immigrant communities,” said Cheryl Cadue, who worked with Jean Blanc. “What does matter is that there are people who literally come from a community and (are) serving the members of their community.”
Emmanuel Pierre-Victor, a Haitian immigrant who lives in Roxbury and received his vaccine on Saturday, said he chose because the weekend time and location at his grocery store were convenient. He added that J&K’s shot only took a “little pinch”.
Cassandra JN Baptiste, a Mattapan resident who also received her vaccine on Saturday, said through a translator that she got the shot because she is free of cancer, and is mostly excited to stop wearing her mask. He also encouraged everyone to get vaccinated and heard about the success of the polio vaccine.
“Even though she knows there are side effects to vaccines, including fatigue, she gets COVID and dies instead of dealing with those,” said her translator.