Vaccination efforts turn to local communities with mass sites to close

BOSTON — Mass vaccination sites across the state are shutting down over the next several weeks as the state shifts to a more targeted strategy.

The Baker administration said it’s now focused on ramping up community-based vaccine efforts to reach remaining unvaccinated populations. The Hynes Convention Center is among five mass vaccination sites that will be closing later this month. The two others will be shutting down in early July.

Boston 25 News spoke with chief medical officers at two community health centers who said their work on the ground at the local level won’t be stopping all summer long.

“The next phase of this in some ways is a lot more organizational operational work,” said Dr. Geoffrey Pechinsky, the chief medical officer at the Lynn Community Health Center.

As the state ramps down its vaccine operation, communities across Massachusetts are pivoting tactics to connect with local residents who haven’t been vaccinated yet.

Dr. Pechinsky said the focus now is getting to people who either didn’t have access to get to mass vaccination sites or may still be hesitant.

>>>MORE: Gov. Baker says state plans to close 4 mass vaccination sites by end of June

“If we’re seeing someone in clinic and say we’ve got this available and they’re ready and willing, we can give it right then,” he said.

In addition to vaccinating people right then and there at the clinic and at a regional vaccination site in Lynn, the Lynn Community Health Center is also reaching to places of worship and employers to meet people where they’re comfortable.

The same strategy is underway in Lawrence.

“When the employers are supporting it, that really helps too. A lot of people can’t really take the time off work to get a vaccine, they’re probably working two jobs,” said Dr. Zandra Kelley, the Chief Medical Officer of the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center.

Dr. Kelley said she’s seeing less people getting vaccinated at larger sites in recent weeks and more people that are saying yes when the doses come to them at their convenience.

“So they don’t have to make a choice about going and searching, going to a site, getting an appointment, all of those things where each step along the way they could say, ‘do I really want to do this?” Dr. Kelley said.

The Lynn Community Heath Center and the Greater Lawrence Health Center continue to vaccinate thousands of people weekly. While things continue to wind down at the Hynes Convention Center and other mass vaccination site, there’s no question they’ve played an instrumental role in getting people vaccinated, jointly administering over 1.7 million doses.

Download the free Boston 25 News app for up-to-the-minute push alerts

>> Complete Covid-19 vaccine coverage


- Complete local and national coronavirus coverage here

- Follow us on Facebook and Twitter | Watch Boston 25 NOW

- Download our free apps for your phone and smart TV