Communities of color feeling left out of the vaccination rollout plan

BOSTON — For weeks, I have been covering issues about the vaccine distribution in communities of color. For many, they tell me, every day they go to work, they’re afraid they will bring the virus home, before they’re vaccinated.

Boston 25 News spoke to a 17-year-old, working as cart boy at a Chelsea supermarket.

When asked if it scares him, touching so many supermarket carts, the teen said: “Yes, that’s why I always have hand sanitizer on me, and alcohol wipes.”

It’s an area that was known as Ground Zero for the virus, and remains in the red zone.

He told Boston 25 News that he’s concerned about his safety, and wishes he could get vaccinated.

“My parents are way too old now. I’m not trying to risk it. I’ve seen a lot, especially with my family. We went through a lot,” he said.

Many people in immigrant communities and communities of color say they feel left out of the vaccination plan. Some are worried they don’t have health insurance.

Attorney General Maura Healey is trying to ease that worry. She tweeted out “You may be asked for ID or insurance, but you won’t be denied the vaccine if you don’t have them.”

“I’m not eligible yet, but I absolutely want it,” said Sean Wong from Revere.

He’s trying to be extra cautious for his teenage daughter, who has respiratory illness.

“There are critics around that are making appointments, and have available vaccines, and they’re dumping vaccines that aren’t being used because people don’t show up,” said Wong.

Shortly after our interview, Wong told me he just found out that he will be eligible to get vaccinated. But now, it’s a matter of getting an appointment.

“Biggest challenge is how we operationalize it right. We know that their communities, whether it’s Roxbury, Lawrence or Lynn, East Boston or Chelsea, where infection rates are high. And we need to get resources into those communities and we need to find a strategy that will deal with the hesitancy because we know immigrant communities, Black and brown communities and most hesitant,” said Michael Curry, of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Care Centers.

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