LOWELL — Although Gov. Charlie Baker has focused the state’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution strategy around a handful of mass vaccination sites, community health centers argue that they are critical to an effective vaccination strategy.
“We are focusing on and making sure we are connecting … individuals who are largely persons of color, who, for several reasons, might either have concerns about taking the vaccine, might have barriers to getting somewhere to get to get vaccinated, (or) might distrust the health care system,” said Susan West Levine, CEO of Lowell Community Health Center. “Our focus is to develop a … community education program to get the word out about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine and to dispel myths about the vaccine.”
Lowell Community Health Center, which serves about half the population of Lowell in some capacity, has employed multiple strategies in the greater Lowell area to make it easy for people to get their vaccines, particularly those in marginalized groups. LCHC staffers argue that community health centers like theirs fill a void left by the impersonal mass vaccination sites.