Mobile van set to vaccinate senior residents in low-income housing, immigrant population

ROXBURY, Mass. — Health care workers at the Whittier Street Health Center in Roxbury have been seeing some of the sickest COVID-19 patients.

Many of them are 75-years-old and older, have no access to health insurance, and can’t even afford to take their daily medications.

But once the vaccine is here, all they’ll have to do is roll up their sleeve.

Jean Constant is one of the mobile van drivers for the center.

RELATED: COVID-19 Vaccine: Whittier Street Health Center holds focus group

“During the day we help a lot of people,” said Constant who has been seeing some of the sickest COVID-19 patients. “Today we did at least 95 people. That’s a downshift number.”

Starting next week, once the coronavirus vaccine is available for Whittier Street patients 75 and older, Constant will be driving the health care workers to patients in public housing facilities to help vaccinate them.

Dr. Joseph Demertine says many of their patients have preexisting conditions and haven’t been taking care of themselves.

“A lot of calls here in the clinic, are patients requesting the vaccine,” said Daphnee Delatour, the lead nurse practitioner for the adult medicine team.

On Tuesday, the Biden administration announced states would be getting more doses of vaccine.

RELATED: US boosting vaccine deliveries amid complaints of shortages

With that news, the Whittier Street Health Center’s CEO Frederica Williams contacted DPH officials to ensure that Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan were prioritized.

“We are hoping to start administering to the patients 75 and older Feb 1st,” said Delatour.

Dr. Mertine says a lot of these patients also lost their homes where they used to get mail about their healthcare information, but they are constantly bouncing around because they don’t have stability right now.

The facility says it is dedicating itself to the underserved population.

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