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Hampden County Last In Massachusetts In Percentage Of Fully Vaccinated Residents

Nurses talk to a patient at the COVID-19 mass vaccination site at Eastfield Mall in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Hoang 'Leon' Nguyen
The Republican / masslive.com
Nurses talk to a patient at the COVID-19 mass vaccination site at Eastfield Mall in Springfield, Massachusetts.

New numbers from the state show Hampden County now trails all other Massachusetts counties in the percentage of residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Fully vaccinated means someone has received both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, or the Johnson & Johnson single shot.

Statewide, about 20% of residents are fully vaccinated.

The equivalent number for Hampden County, as of March 30, was 15%.

That's a few points behind Hampshire and Franklin counties — and well behind Berkshire County, where a quarter of residents are now fully vaccinated.

There is also a huge gap in who is getting the vaccine in Hampden County, which is somewhat mirrored across the state.

While 28% of white residents in Hampden County have at least one dose, that's true of just 15% of Black residents, and 10% of the Hispanic population, according to the state report.

To help address this disparity, workers hired by the state of Massachusetts this week will start going from door to door in Worcester, Springfield and Holyoke. Bilingual community organizers will help residents sign up for vaccine appointments and answer questions about the shots.

The outreach effort will take place in 20 Massachusetts cities and towns the Baker administration considers hardest-hit by the pandemic. That's based on daily case rates and the percentage of people of color, who have been disproportionately impacted by the virus.

"To have assistance from others in the state, we welcome, because our goal is the same goal," said Dr. Mattie Castiel, Worcester's commissioner of health and human services. "Our goal is to get communities of color vaccinated."

The campaign is part of the Massachusetts Vaccine Equity Initiative, which received more than $27 million in funding from the CDC.

Sam Hudzik has overseen local news coverage on New England Public Media since 2013. He manages a team of about a dozen full- and part-time reporters and hosts.
Before joining New England Public Media, Alden was a producer for the CBS NEWS program 60 Minutes. In that role, he covered topics ranging from art, music and medicine to business, education and politics.
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