While Still Low, Haverhill COVID-19 Rates Going Up; Officials Ask 20-39-Year-Olds to Get Vaccine

File photograph. (Image licensed by Ingram Image.)

While nowhere near the levels the city was experiencing a year ago, Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini says COVID-19 numbers have begun spiking within the last two weeks and worse figures are preventable with vaccinations.

Speaking before the City Council this week, the mayor said the statistics are concerning because they are similar to last year’s numbers, just before the start of the school year.

“A year ago we were seeing a big drop in cases. Many people thought COVID was over and then when we got back inside in the fall and in the winter, when the kids got back to school, that’s when we saw that big spike. And that’s what we need to avoid at all costs,” he told councilors.

The mayor said the key to avoiding a repeat of that increase in cases is vaccinations. He said, to date, 34,496 Haverhill residents have been fully vaccinated, about 55% of the total population. He noted that percentage includes the 0–12-year-old population who cannot yet receive a vaccine.

That means there are 18,000 adults in the city who are eligible to get the vaccine who have not, and that’s what we need to concentrate on over the next two months,” he added.

The mayor reminded residents vaccinations are offered, free of charge, every Thursday between 10 a.m-4 p.m. at the Haverhill Citizen Center, 10 Welcome St.

Fiorentini said there are certain areas of the city where residents, for one reason or another, have not availed themselves of the vaccine. As a result, he said the city is planning a series of block parties in those areas where they can reach out to those who remain on the fence regarding the vaccine.

Community Health Coordinator Mary Connolly also addressed the Council, saying there is clear evidence of the effectiveness of the vaccine in the older population who have been the most vigilant in getting vaccinated.

“We have seen those that are in the ages of 50-59 who were one of our higher percentages of cases; they were holding 13% of our case count. In the past three months after vaccination, they have dropped down to only 5% of our cases now. So, we know that the vaccine is doing what it needs to do. We just need help to be able to get these people vaccinated,” she said.

Connolly told the Council new COVID-19 cases have increased significantly in young people and emphasized that in order to stop the continuation of the virus, the city needs to increase vaccination rates in the 20–39-year-old age group.

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