State Rep. Santiago Joins Partners to Vaccinate Nearly 100 Low-Income, Elderly, and Disabled BHA Residents

State Rep. Jon Santiago partnered with Dr. Alister Martin, the South End Community Health Center, Mascon Medical, the Boston Housing Authority, Brewster Ambulance, and the Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts to set up pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinics aimed at administering vaccinations to the most vulnerable and difficult to access populations in the Commonwealth.

The effort, known as Get Out the Vaccine (GOTVax), applies traditional techniques of community organizing to bolster vaccine administration, including text banking, phone banking, and door to door canvassing. Volunteers from Harvard Medical School and student groups such as We Got Us implemented a week long campaign to engage residents around the issue of vaccine access and hesitancy.

“Addressing the COVID crisis means bringing like-minded people together to take action and get it done,” said State Representative Jon Santiago. “I’m so thankful for our partners in this effort and looking forward to improving vaccine equity by bringing shots to those most vulnerable.”

This is the second day of operations for the new program. Today, Santiago, Martin and partners brought vaccines to Torre Unidad complex in the South End, following on their successful administration of vaccines in a variety of BHA buildings, including Frederick Douglass Community, Washington Manor and Hampton House. Since its inception last week, Get Out The Vaccine has administered 297 vaccines.

“GOTVax has now brought vaccinations to nearly 300 people in Boston who are highly most at risk to COVID-19 and otherwise would have a nearly impossible time getting vaccinations through existing sites. This program is changing lives for vulnerable populations in our neighborhoods,” Santiago continued.

Vaccines provided by the South End Community Health Center are administered by Last Mile Vaccine Delivery, a mobile vaccine service provider for underserved communities formed by Mascon Medical, Brewster Ambulance Service and the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts.

“The GOTVax program represents the best of Boston,” said Dr. Alister Martin, an attending physician at Massachusetts General Hospital. “Partners like Rep. Santiago, volunteers from Harvard Medical School, South End Community Health Center, Mason Medical, the Boston Housing Authority, Brewster Ambulance and our frontline heroes at the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts have combined their efforts, resources and expertise to make a difference in our collective fight against this virus. Seeing these shots go in the arms of people who need them most is so rewarding.”

“We’re honored to partner with Representative Jon Santiago and Dr. Alister Martin in their efforts to get the COVID-19 vaccine to Boston’s most underserved communities and communities of color,” said John Chen, President of Mascon Medical and co-founder of Last Mile Vaccine Delivery. “As a minority-owned business and first generation Asian American, we’re sensitive to the challenges of people living in these diverse communities. We’re problem solvers here to help municipalities and other non-profits in the Commonwealth accelerate their vaccine distribution in order to save lives. We look forward to operating more of these pop-up vaccination sites, as well as activating our mobile vaccination units.”

“Our diverse, low-income elderly and disabled residents are among the most vulnerable in the city – we needed to bring the vaccine to them to ensure vaccine equity,” said Lydia Agro, Boston Housing Authority Chief of Staff and Public Affairs. “The Get out the Vaccine effort has been instrumental in

vaccinating our residents where they live. We want to thank our GOTVax partners – Dr. Martin and the South End Community Health Center, Mascon, Representative Santiago – and our BHA staff and volunteers for helping us make this happen at multiple sites in the South End. Through this and other

partnerships with Boston EMS, Boston Public Health Commission, and the Mass. Association of Independent Pharmacists, we’re able to stand up clinics at 35 elderly/disabled sites in Boston.”

“The Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts stand ready to respond, just as we have throughout the pandemic,” said Rich MacKinnon Jr., President of the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts. “We know the benefits of getting vaccinated and are eager to put our experience to work to help more residents get vaccinated.” Several more clinics are planned at other low-income, senior housing developments over the next few weeks as eligibility for residents is expanded.

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