Pop-up clinic aims to vaccinate residents in Mattapan

BOSTON — A special COVID-19 vaccine clinic Saturday aimed at getting shots in the arms of residents in the Boston neighborhood of Mattapan.

“The vaccination rate here in Mattapan is under 40 percent,” said Dr. Christin Price, community programs director for Mass General-Brigham. “Compared to the rest of the state and even other parts of Boston, it is one of the lowest vaccination rates.”

The clinic was held in the parking lot of America’s Food Basket in Mattapan Square, and was a collaboration between Mass General-Brigham and the Authentic Caribbean Foundation.

Pfizer’s and Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccines were given out for free. People did not need insurance, identification, or an appointment.

“Our goal is just to eliminate any barriers for folks to get the vaccine,” said Price. “The location [of the clinic] is really important because this is a market that really draws from the community, and Saturday happens to be the biggest shopping day, so we wanted to just be where the people are to make it as easy as possible.”

Organizers said having the clinic in the grocery store parking lot was a great way to target the large Haitian population in the community.

“We get a big response from here because a lot of Caribbean American folks shop here, and it was vital that we bring it to where they are at,” said Andrew Sharpe, chairman of the Authentic Caribbean Foundation. “We are a busy people. We have two jobs, we are working nonstop, so it’s the perfect location right here at the American Food Basket right in the heart of Mattapan.”

Sharpe said the goal was to vaccinate at least 50 people Saturday.

In addition to COVID-19 vaccines, they also gave away care kits with masks, hand sanitizer, diapers and more, and gift cards to the grocery store.

“It’s convenient for me because I was with my sister in line here, and I heard on the radio that you can get the vaccine here, and I was like okay, I was so happy, let me go take it,” said Myram Deneus of Mattapan. “I’m getting it because it’s necessary to protect the people around me like you me and everyone and be free.”

Event organizers speaking multiple languages were also on hand to answer questions about the vaccine.

“We have done vaccines before, measles, mumps and rubella, so why not take the COVID vaccine,” said Sharpe.

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