Pilot program aims to vaccinate those who can’t make it to vaccination clinics

So far, more than 681,000 doses of vaccine have been given out in Massachusetts. Now, there’s work being done to make sure coronavirus vaccines are available to more people in communities hardest hit by the pandemic. Today, a pilot program started up in Chelsea and Quincy that takes a different approach to vaccinating people who have mobility issues.

A convoy of medics, firefighters and caregivers are going right to residents doors at the Buckley Apartments in Chelsea, bringing the vaccine to them if they can’t make it out themselves.

“Is it okay to put it in your left shoulder?” an EMT with Brewster Ambulance asks a patient before he administers the Moderna vaccine.

Margaret Rivera, 84, is battling cancer. She is on oxygen, uses a wheelchair and has only been out of her apartment once in two years. So instead of trying to get to a vaccination clinic, the vaccine was brought to her.

“I’m glad I got it done, and I hope it works, I pray to God it does,” said Rivera.

Mascon Medical is teaming up with Brewster Ambulance and the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts for this pilot program that addresses the vaccine challenges in the state.

“It’s hard to get online, many people can’t get online,” said John Chen, the President of Mascon Medical. “Either they’re elderly or they’re not computer literate and we want to make sure that we’re addressing those issues and make sure they have access to the vaccine.”

By helping deliver the vaccine to people, first responders say this also helps them feel safer doing their job as well.

“Recently we’ve gone into houses where four or five members in the house all have COVID at one time, so that’s a very stressful situation for our members as we respond,” said Richard MacKinnon, Jr, the President of the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts. “So to be part of getting people vaccinated that can’t get out, that don’t feel comfortable going to a site, it’s a great thing.”

Whether it’s going directly to someone’s door or having them come into the common area, residents in the Buckley Apartments won’t have to leave their building to get the shot.

“We’ll see you in 28 days,” the EMT told Rivera.

The same pilot program happening here is also happening in Quincy, where they hope to do 600 shots. If these programs are successful, the president of Mascon Medical tells Boston 25 News there are other locations in the works they will be going to next.

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