Health and Human Services Secretary Becerra Visits Valley to Promote COVID-19 Vaccinations

Touring a vaccination site during March 2021, from left, were Greater Lawrence Family Health Center’s then-President and CEO John M. Silva and Senior Vice President of External Relations and Chief Marketing and Development Officer Rich Napolitano and Congresswoman Lori Trahan. (Courtesy photograph.)

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra visits the Merrimack Valley today to promote COVID-19 vaccinations and the work the Biden administration has been doing to reach vulnerable communities.

The visit by Becerra to Massachusetts, a state with the second-highest vaccination rate in the country, was announced by the Biden administration and Congresswoman Lori Trahan, who will accompany the secretary on his tour, beginning with a visit to the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center that received money through the American Rescue Plan Act and was an early participant in the Biden administration’s health center vaccination program.

After the tour, he will take part in a roundtable with Trahan, Lawrence Mayor Kendrys Vasquez and others. Massachusetts has given a first dose, including the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, to at least 55% of Black residents and 53% of Hispanic residents, according to the Baker administration. Those totals far outpace the national average of 29.8% for Black residents and 37.1% of Hispanic residents. Becerra will take part in a similar tour and roundtable on vaccines at Lowell General Hospital, followed by a third event at UTEC in Lowell.

In choosing to visit Massachusetts as the Delta variant spreads rapidly across all parts of the country, Becerra picked a state that is near the top for vaccinations. The state has seen new COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations climb steadily this summer, but is still experiencing far fewer infections and negative outcomes than other states. With 65% of its population fully immunized, Massachusetts has the second highest vaccination rate in the country, behind only Vermont. The CDC reports that 85.6% of adults in Massachusetts have had at least one dose.

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