Haverhill, Methuen, Lawrence Share in $4.7 Million State Effort to Vaccinate Hard-to-Reach Residents

Gov. Charlie Baker wears a mask when not speaking at the podium during a Haverhill visit Nov. 7, 2020. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Gov. Charlie Baker is putting $4.7 million into a program to help vaccinate residents in Haverhill, Methuen and Lawrence and 17 other communities that are described as “disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.”

The effort aims to reduce barriers to vaccination in the 20 hardest-hit communities in the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth will work with Archipelago Strategies Group and Health Care for All to work with “local leaders and community- and faith-based organizations to strengthen existing efforts in these cities and towns.”

“This work will complement the Commonwealth’s $2.5 million public awareness campaign, ‘Trust the Facts, Get the Vax,’ adapting the campaign’s messaging for specific communities. The initiative will focus on the 20 municipalities with the greatest COVID-19 case burden, taking into account social determinants of health and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on people of color,” Baker’s office said in a statement.

The initiative specifically focuses on communities of color, homebound seniors, disabled individuals and other hard-to-reach populations. It is expected to hire local residents and work with local organizations with cultural and language competencies.

Archipelago Strategies specializes in grassroots mobilization, partnering with local leaders, community organizations and media to develop community-based solutions. As a subcontractor, Health Care for All will provide help, including direct service support, community organizing, education and outreach.

The administration also designated Lawrence General Hospital as one of 11 regional collaboratives to work with local health officials, regional hospitals and others to deliver high-throughput, vaccination sites beginning March 1.

“Our Lawrence General Hospital vaccination team is currently vaccinating over 1,000 people a day including some of the most vulnerable in our community,” said Deborah J. Wilson, Lawrence General Hospital’s president and CEO. She added the hospital is “eager to continue working closely with city leaders and state health officials as we ramp up vaccination efforts here in the Merrimack Valley.”

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