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COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Initiative Highlights

See what's happening each week.

The COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Initiative works with the populations and communities most heavily impacted by COVID-19, with a focus on the 20 hardest-hit cities and towns. The goal is to reduce barriers to COVID vaccination, increase awareness of the vaccine’s safety and efficacy and, ultimately, increase vaccinations.

Visit COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Initiative Communities to see what's happening in each community, and view highlights below.

Table of Contents

Recent highlights

Person on bicycle with "youth vax giveaway" sign

Fall River’s youth vaccination campaign offered two winners new bicycles

October 25

  • This week’s Fall River’s youth vaccination campaign drew community and media attention when the Director for the United Way of Greater Fall River rode around the City on one of two prize bicycles with a cowbell and announced the winners (with names taped to the back of his tee shirt).
  • Local boards of health in Lowell, Lawrence and Fitchburg are co-locating vaccination clinics at family-centered Halloween events on upcoming weekends
Monsterbash and Halloween stroll. 1 PM - 4 PM Lowell High School, Haunted House. 12 PM to 3 PM Trick-Or-Treat in downtown Lowell. Don't forget to bring a treat bag! This is a free family event. Saturday, October 30, 2021, 12 PM to 3 PM
  • On Sunday, Haverhill hosted its second dose clinic with the Haverhill Latino Coalition, where 24 people received vaccines and another seven people received J&J doses. Haverhill had a 2-week increase of +1.9 percentage points in LatinX first dose rate, compared to +1.6 percentage points statewide.
  • The outreach team in Fitchburg/Leominster developed a QR code that takes users to a website where they can sign up for a clinic and get vaccine information and educational materials.
Winner of Youth Vax giveaway holding up a prize in Fall River.

Fall River "Youth Vax" giveaway winner

October 18

  • Lawrence continues to coordinate neighborhood canvassing with clinicians offering vaccines; they report engaging with 10 residents per day to be vaccinated with this approach. Lawrence had a two-week increase in first dose rates of +2.0 percentage points – double the statewide increase.
  • In Fall River, the city and United Way of Greater Fall River are collaborating on a series of vaccination clinics at schools across the city to increase the vaccination rate among young people. Prizes to be given out each Friday this month include TVs, bikes and iPads, plus gift cards for youth who refer a friend to sign up and get vaccinated.
  • Brockton hosted a pop-up vaccination clinic at a community carnival where 43 youth were vaccinated and so were six adults identifying as homeless or housing unstable. 
  • The City of Leominster team and its community partners are collaborating with local sports organizations, including the local Dek Hockey League, to coordinate vaccine clinics geared toward the youth population. 
Person holding child

Lynn is hosting pop-up clinics this month

October 12

  • In Lynn, the organization “Leading Through Empowering Opportunities,” or LEO, plans six pop-up vaccine clinics for 400 families and the public. With Salem State University students, they handed out 650 tote bags with PPE and vaccination facts – to be distributed at these clinics and via the Lynn Public Schools.
  • Catholic Social Services of Fall River (serving immigrants and people who are homeless/housing insecure) hosted their annual back-to-school event for members of their homeless shelter where they had a cookout and distributed backpacks, with a partner organization administering vaccines.
School supplies, including crayons, glue, notepads, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, and more.

"Annual Back 2 School Supply Drive" in Randolph

  • In Lowell, the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association of Greater Lowell helped with a back-to-school event with Lowell Public Schools, and held an event called Nom Banh Chok (after a Cambodian noodle dish). They held one-on-one discussions to help facilitate vaccinations, even making appointments and driving three people to Walgreens to get the COVID test and vaccine.
  • In Randolph, the organization Autism Sprinter partnered with the Rise Extended Day Program and the Motivation Church for the 3rd “Annual Back 2 School Supply Drive.” In addition to hundreds of donated school supplies for Randolph Public Schools, Autism Sprinter distributed 213 hand sanitizers, 302 masks, and 71 boxes of Clorox to help schools open safely.
Person applying a bandage following vaccination.

Brockton vaccine clinic

October 4

  • Over the October 2-3 weekend, a team of partners in Brockton hosted a clinic at the Universal Missionary Church where more than 20 residents received vaccination.
  • New Bedford is hosting a National Night Out community event this week, including a police helicopter landing, presented by local law enforcement with a promoted vaccination opportunity. 
  • The Haverhill Latino Coalition hosted a weekend clinic where 37 residents were vaccinated; the event was promoted via increased engagement with local faith leaders.
  • DPH team members visited the Encore casino in Everett to answer questions and schedule vaccine appointments for staff members; over 25 people were engaged.
  • A number of events featured opportunities for vaccination in Lawrence over the weekend of October 2-3, including the “Meet Your Heroes” fallen soldiers' tribute, a youth soccer jamboree in So. Lawrence, and a community block party in North Lawrence.
  • The Framingham Vaccine Equity Planning Group gathered at the Greater Framingham Community Church, where thousands of residents obtained their vaccine, to celebrate the accomplishments and the work to promote education and access to COVID-19 vaccines.
Screenshot of Padre Joel Almono

Padre Joel Almono

September 27

  • Lawrence launched a Spanish public service announcement featuring 10 faith-based leaders and partners urging vaccination. The effort was stewarded by the City and Greater Lawrence Community Action Council. A paid radio spot is also planned.

September 22

  • In Leominster, the vaccine equity team pivoted quickly to move a vaccination event from the Spanish American Center to a Days Inn, partnering with the local homeless shelter and police department to distribute prepackaged meals and conduct vaccinations. The VaxBus set up in the parking lot and vaccinated 12 people.
Vaccine equity initiative bus in Leominster, MA

The VaxBus visits Leominster

Vaccine information table in Holyoke

Vaccine information table in Holyoke

September 13, 2021

  • DPH vaccine outreach workers in Holyoke staff an information table inside Holyoke Health Center. Because of their work, the center saw a marked increase in people interested in the vaccine, so much so, the City plans to find ways to sustain the local informational efforts into the fall.
  • Bishop Talbert Swan and Springfield’s Spring of Hope Church of God in Christ hosted a vaccination event with the City of Springfield last Saturday. The event featured live music, entertainment, and food. 
Vaccine clinic in Springfield

Vaccine event in Springfield

September 6, 2021

  • Randolph held vaccination clinics at the annual Mid-Autumn Lantern Festival; more than 60 people were vaccinated over the two-day event.
  • Block by block efforts in Fall River, with events at Price Rite and a local place of worship, resulted in 115 residents vaccinated.​
  • ASG’s information table inside Holyoke Health Center saw a marked increase in people interested in the vaccine, so much so, the City plans to find ways to sustain the local informational efforts into the fall. ​

August 28, 2021

  • Our community vaccination event in New Bedford featured food, music, and gift cards for the vaccinated. It was held at Riverside Park in New Bedford – where 73 people stepped up to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
People in New Bedford receiving the COVID-19 vaccine

Community vaccination event at Riverside Park in New Bedford

August 26, 2021

  • In Brockton, the New Life Community Empowerment Center, serving Black, Latinx, Haitian, Cape Verdean and homeless communities, is hosting 1-hour Facebook Live webinars titled “Coping and Conquering: Community COVID-19 Monthly Conversations'' featuring a local health expert. The August webinar featured a chief nurse from Brigham and Women’s Hospital who spoke about the Delta variant and addressed vaccine hesitancy. About 800 people viewed the webinar.
  • In Boston, the Asian American Civic Association is launching their ads on the MBTA and in the local Vietnamese newspaper, starting the first week of September. Among the goals is to expand vaccination messaging to individuals with limited English proficiency in Boston’s Asian community.

August 23

  • In Worcester, the locally based Worcester Interfaith, serving low-income, minority and newcomer residents, is using a network of outreach workers called “cultural brokers” who speak many languages, live and work in the community, and have developed relationships to promote the vaccination message. One of the cultural brokers who has had a personal loss from COVID, shares her story in conversation with the 250 families she connects with regularly to encourage vaccination.

    Vaccination outreach workers in Worcester

August 15

  • The vaccination efforts in Lynn were highlighted by columnist Yvonne Abraham who traveled with a canvasser to provide information to local neighborhoods (article requires subscription).

August 14

  • Vaccinations were administered to visitors to Lynn Summer Fest, co-hosted with support from DPH, Tufts Health Plan, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Lynn Community Health Center and Girls Inc., Lynn. More than 300 people, including Senator Ed Markey, attended the event which featured music, cultural dances, games, prizes, and food vendors.
Vaccine administration in Lynn

Lynn Summer Fest

Tent event in Revere

Outdoor clinic in Revere

August 11, 2021

  • Revere continues to host clinics and our field ambassadors recently lent support to a busy local clinic near Revere Beach.
  • Mobile vaccination clinics were on site at National Night Out events held this summer in Lowell, Malden, Leominster, Haverhill, Holyoke and New Bedford.
  • We continue to host tailored vaccination efforts in Mattapan and during the week of August 6-13, there are five clinics scheduled in partnership with community organizations for local residents.

July 30

  • Chelsea hosted a “Summer COVID-19 Vaccine Festival” at the Chelsea Senior Center including music, food, live performances, $25 gift cards, and a raffle to win an iPad. 175 doses were administered to attendees.
  • Boston held a clinic with gift cards in the parking lot of America’s Food Basket Mattapan Square, in partnership with the Authentic Caribbean Foundation; 26 people received first doses.
  • A successful event was held in Lowell where 64 people were vaccinated; included "Touch the Truck" event, free food from food truck, Lowell Police comfort dog; staff wore reusable vests that said "I speak Spanish. How can I help you?" in Spanish as well as other languages common in Lowell.
  • Lawrence’s Road to VaxMillions campaign led to 32 vaccinations across a number of partners and collaborators.
VEI canvassers in Lawrence

Canvassers in Lawrence

A vaccine equity worker at a table helping residents register for vaccine appointments.

On Shirley Avenue in Revere, one resident is helped to register for her appointment.

July 12:

  • DPH field ambassadors in Revere continue to help inform residents about the COVID-19 vaccine.

June 28:

  • Whether you run a bakery, dentist office, or pharmacy, our canvassers are visiting local businesses in Worcester and other vaccine equity communities, spreading the word about COVID vaccination and nearby clinics.

Local businesses in Worcester, MA

Canvassers at local businesses in Worcester

Vaccine train in Worcester

The Vax Express

June 21:

In Lawrence, staff from our Vaccine Equity Initiative helped support and promote COVID-19 vaccination aboard the Vax Express, a COVID-19 vaccine clinic on the commuter rail train. This unique vaccine clinic made stops in seven communities severely impacted by the pandemic.

Vaccine Equity Initiative staff

Vaccine Equity Initiative staff in Lawrence (Credit: Archipelago Strategies Group)

June 14:

Our hyper-local efforts to increase COVID vaccination take shoe leather and going house to house to deliver information, promote nearby clinics and incentives, and convince the most hesitant to get vaccinated.

Door knocking in Methuen, MA.

Door to door visits in Methuen

North American Indian Center of Boston mobile COVID vaccination clinic

Pictured: Raquel Halsey, NAICOB, Janelle Pocowatchit, NAL, and Erica Piedade, DPH

June 6:

  • Vaccination efforts include initiatives to reach the Commonwealth’s tribal and Indigenous populations. The North American Indian Center of Boston held a mobile COVID vaccination clinic in Jamaica Plain in partnership with the Native American Lifelines Title 5 Urban Indian Health Services and DPH.  

May 31:

  • In Chelsea, members of the community-based organization La Colaborativa disseminated information about the COVID-19 vaccine to local residents and businesses and answered questions about vaccine clinic appointments and locations.
  • In Worcester, the Vaccine Equity team set up a vaccine information table at Polar Park where the WooSox announced they will make vaccines available for fans at park during the club’s second home stand, their first without COVID-19 capacity restrictions. The program is in partnership with Worcester’s Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center.
Equity Initiative staff at La Colaborativa in Chelsea and a WooSox event at Polar Park in Worcester

Left: La Colaborativa in Chelsea
Right: Polar Park in Worcester

Vaccine Equity Initiative outreach workers hand out vaccine materials in East Boston.

Vaccine Equity Initiative outreach workers in East Boston

May 18-21:

  • DPH field ambassadors in East Boston hand out masks, sanitizer and information about the COVID-19 vaccine at a neighborhood park. 
  • In Lawrence, the DPH community outreach team raised awareness about how to get the COVID-19 vaccine.  
  • Members of Women Encouraging Empowerment (WEE), a local organization in Revere, passed out flyers, staged informational tables and hung posters in local businesses to raise awareness about how, where, and when to get vaccinated.  
  • Young organizers with Worcester's Southeast Asian Coalition banded together to spread helpful information about the vaccine at local supermarkets in the area.  
  • In Holyoke, DPH field ambassadors disseminate COVID-19 safety kits containing masks, hand sanitizer, and vaccination information.  
Vaccine Equity Initiative events in Lawrence, Revere, Worcester, and Holyoke.

Left to right: community outreach in Lawrence, Women Encouraging Empowerment efforts in Revere, youth organizers in Worcester, and DPH field ambassadors in Holyoke (Credit: Archipelago Strategies Group)

May 17:

In Haverhill, Vaccine Equity Staff set up a vaccine informational table and answered questions at Haverhill City Hall, where they met Mayor James Fiorentini who took time out to thank the group and pose for a photo.

Vaccine Equity Staff pictured at Haverhill City Hall, posing with Mayor James Fiorentini

Event in Haverhill (Credit: Archipelago Strategies Group)

May 11:

  • In Worcester, Governor Baker joined canvassers to visit local businesses including Kokorico’s (left) and Maria’s Kitchen (right) and spread the word that the vaccine saves lives and that getting vaccinated is the best way to protect you and your family.
Governor Baker poses with canvassers at Maria’s Kitchen and Kokorico’s.

Community events in Worcester

May 10:

  • To date, canvassers across the state have knocked on 82K doors, made 19K phone calls and hosted nearly 500 local events and displays including one at a Framingham YMCA and one conducted by the local climate justice group GreenRoots in Chelsea.
  • Revere has set a public goal to get at least 70% of residents vaccinated by July 4th.  The push includes using multilingual print and digital ads and a citywide system using a public “thermometer” to track progress.
Table events in Framingham and Chelsea & a sign shaped like a thermometer serves to track vaccination progress in Revere.

Left to right: YMCA event in Framingham; GreenRoots event in Chelsea; a "thermometer" tracks vaccination progress in Revere

May 3:

  • In Worcester, members of Worcester's Southeast Asian Coalition partnered with DPH to go door-to-door in their neighborhoods to share information about the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Vaccine equity initiative outreach workers pose for a photo in Worcester.

Vaccine Equity Initiative outreach workers get ready to hit the ground running in Worcester.

4 equity initiative canvassers.

Fitchburg canvassers get ready to head out.

April 30:

  • In Fall River, the vaccine site located at the Khmer Buddhist Temple welcomed many area residents for COVID-19 vaccination, including older adults from the Cambodian-American community. Read the story in more detail in The Herald News.
  • Lawrence is using a multi-faceted approach to increase vaccine awareness: leveraging radio, encouragement from the Mayor, and traditional street outreach (visiting barbershops, beauty salons, grocery stores, etc.)
  • In Fitchburg, Health Care For All (HCFA) teams have been hitting the pavement, talking to residents about the COVID-19 vaccine and offering information about vaccine clinics in the region. “It’s going great so far,” one canvasser told a reporter.  “We are having some amazing conversations and saving lives.” Read the story in the Sentinel and Enterprise.

 

April 29:

  • In East Boston, the rain did not deter canvassers who visited the Maverick Square neighborhood and knocked on doors to speak with residents about vaccination. Canvassers also spoke with local business owners and put up “Trust the Facts” signage in their windows.
People canvassing for the Vaccine Equity Initiative, including knocking on doors and putting up posters.

Rain didn’t stop the canvassing team in East Boston.

April 22, 2021:

  • In Revere, NBC 10 highlighted neighborhood efforts in Revere, with city ambassadors going door to door to help residents sign up for a shot. “It’s a way to have two-way communication and for residents to know we’re also residents who are in the same boat as them," said Dimple Rana, the city's director of community engagement. This week ambassadors assembled bags of COVID supplies for residents and said they’ll be ready to sign up people for a vaccine at their homes. The goal in Revere is to get 70% of residents vaccinated by Fourth of July.
Person knocking on a door with "Trust the Facts, Get the Vax" materials.

Door knocking takes place in Brockton.

April 20, 2021:

  • In Framingham, WCVB highlights canvassing work including high school student involvement
  • In Brockton, WBZ follows a youth canvasser going to door to door to share information on vaccination. Those same canvassers helped fill clinic slots which would have otherwise gone unused.
  • In Lynn, in collaboration with Mass General Brigham and Lynn Community Health Center, Lynn is launching a call center staffed by individuals from the community to help residents make appointments at the Lynn Tech vaccination site. Lynn is also spearheading a mobile vaccination operation to increase access for those facing barriers such as lack of transportation to obtaining a vaccine.

April 18, 2021:

  • In Everett, a team of canvassers spread out downtown to hand out information and answer questions about COVID vaccination. They handed out COVID-19 vaccination information and free masks to passerby in Everett, one of the cities hardest hit by COVID-19.
    Staff canvassing for the Vaccine Equity Initiative

    (Credit: Alex Gomez)

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