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Mobile Clinics Help Deliver Coronavirus Vaccine To Hard-To-Reach People04:03
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The UMass Medical Mobile Vaccine unit set up a clinic in the community room of the Coes Pond Village in Worcester. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
The UMass Medical Mobile Vaccine unit set up a clinic in the community room of the Coes Pond Village in Worcester. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Traducido en español por El Planeta Media.

More than one and a half million people in Massachusetts are now fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

But with an uptick in positive coronavirus tests and the spread of variants, there's increased urgency to get shots administered to as many people possible, as quickly as possible. So the state and several health groups are taking vaccines directly into the community and setting up mobile vaccine clinics.

For the past two months, UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester has held mobile clinics twice a week at sites around central Massachusetts where people might have a tough time traveling to get a shot.

"A lot of people here have difficulties going out to a mass site to get vaccinated and that's why we came to them," said Michelle Muller, a family nurse practitioner who works in community benefits at UMass Memorial. "It's a little more difficult to come out into the community, but we're very proud of what we've been able to do for underserved populations in Worcester County. Every vaccine in an arm gets us closer to being done with this pandemic."

Margaret Connolly holds her sleeve while registered nurse Jessica Kazanovicz administers her second Moderna dose. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Margaret Connolly holds her sleeve while registered nurse Jessica Kazanovicz administers her second Moderna dose. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

At one clinic last week at Coes Pond Village, an affordable housing complex for about 300 seniors in Worcester, about 200 people were getting second doses of the Moderna vaccine. Workers at the complex helped organize residents' appointments and about 10 hospital staff members and several volunteers and translators helped convert a community room into a clinic.

The room was busy with residents arriving at their staggered appointment times. The would sit in designated chairs, waiting for nurses to wheel over carts carrying the doses. The residents would wait 15 minutes after receiving the shot and then could leave — knowing they've received their final dose.

"I hope it's over," said 83-year-old Jeene Collins, whose been living at Coes Pond Village for more than two decades. "Visiting my friends and relatives will be nice. We haven't been associating because we didn't want to catch anything."

Coes Pond Village resident Jeene Collins receives her second dose of the Moderna vaccine from medical student Bethany Morrill. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Coes Pond Village resident Jeene Collins receives her second dose of the Moderna vaccine from medical student Bethany Morrill. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

UMass has distributed almost 2,000 vaccines in mobile vaccination clinics in Worcester County since February. The hospital is planning to provide vaccines at agricultural sites and at a local meat packing company soon.

"This gives us hope," Muller said. "I know the numbers are going up and we're nervous with the new strains. It's really a race between the new strains and the vaccine so we're trying to get out here as much as possible."

Earlier this month the state announced a partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to distribute shots through mobile vaccination units and pop-up clinics with a "focus on vaccine equity."

For eight weeks, the clinics will be held at various locations in five communities: Chelsea, Revere, Boston, Fall River and New Bedford. The communities were chosen based on the CDC's Social Vulnerability Index.

This segment aired on April 12, 2021.

Deborah Becker Twitter Host/Reporter
Deborah Becker is a senior correspondent and host at WBUR. Her reporting focuses on mental health, criminal justice and education.

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