Low income seniors getting vaccinated close to home in hard-hit Roxbury

ROXBURY, Mass. — For weeks, Boston 25 News has been telling you about the struggle in some of the hard-hit communities, like Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan and other surrounding areas. Finally, there’s light at the end of the tunnel, where a local health center is making sure seniors who can’t get to their appointments get vaccinated.

“People shouldn’t have to suffer from sickness,” said Rose Francis Lee, a 91-year-old from Roxbury.

Lee just got the Moderna vaccine. At first, she, like many in hard-hit Black and immigrant communities like Roxbury, was skeptical about getting vaccinated.

Lee is a double-leg amputee because of her previous health condition.

“People are afraid, you have to expect that,” said Lee.

Plus, the vaccine wasn’t readily available to them. Then, just days ago, Governor Charlie Baker announced the push for the COVID-19 vaccine in 20 of the hardest-hit areas in Massachusetts.

“You see rich folks getting shots before they do. There is a biasness, and it’s about resources and time,” said Lee’s son, 71-year-old Lester Lee.

Lester also just got the vaccine, and it was an eye-opening experience for him.

“It’s a miracle they got a vaccine in nine months,” said Lester.

150 people signed up to get vaccinated at Roxse Homes in Roxbury, in partnership with Peabody Properties, Inc.

So how are the vaccines getting to some of the hard-hit areas, like here the Roxse home? The Whittier Street Health Center has been going around in mobile vans and vaccinating people door-to-door in some of the hardest-hit communities.

“What’s critical is the community engagement, meeting people where they are,” said Frederica Williams, the CEO of Whittier Street Health Center.

“I live down the street, in the Beacon Street projects,“ said Esteroe Caroderbank, a 74-year-old who just got vaccinated.

For Caroderbank, she tells us it’s been a struggle financially, especially during the pandemic.

“I get food stamps to cover me up, so that makes it good,” said Caroderbank.

But with the vaccine at her doorstep…

“Maybe everything will get back to normal,” said Caroderbank.

In the meantime, Lee’s word of advice to the world during this time…

“I’m very caring, try to be helpful to other people, “said Lee.

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