Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center CEO Stan McClaren never thought “leading by example,” would mean being first in line to take a newly-developed vaccine during a pandemic, but as 2020 would have it, that’s exactly how he spent his Christmas Eve morning.

McClaren, 50, who is Black — and lives near the Dorchester-based health center in a predominantly Black neighborhood — said he decided to take the vaccine first after hearing expressions of doubt and distrust from his neighbors and his health center staff.

Even though the general public is not scheduled to receive COVID-19 vaccines in Massachusetts until the next spring, public confidence has been identified as a barrier to distribution, particularly among people of color. Polling suggests the Black and brown communities suffering the pandemic’s worst effects may also be the least likely to volunteer for the treatment.

“This pandemic has disproportionately affected communities like mine throughout the country,” McClaren told press and onlookers at the health center moments before receiving the shot. “I’m getting vaccinated today in the hopes that it sets and example . . . and that we be able to overcome what’s happening to our community, because this virus is devastating our community.”

Across the city, health centers are publicizing their first medical staff vaccinations on social media. The community-based facilities typically offer more affordable and more culturally competent healthcare access in low income or minority areas.

McClaren said he recognizes the institution’s unique position in the Dorchester neighborhood, serving a population that has some of Boston’s highest COVID-19 testing positivity rates. Beyond that, he said he recognized his own unique position as a Black man leading the institution.

“I think as a leader, you need to find ways that you can inspire the folks that are putting their trust in you,” he told GBH News after a nurse administered the Moderna vaccine through a shot to his left arm.

“I mean, I don’t want to take my shot in front of everybody,” he said with a chuckle, “But if my staff even have a little skepticism – and we hire a lot of people from the community, so it makes sense – then, this is a way for me to say 'Hey, I’m not going to ask you to do anything I wouldn’t do and, not only that, but I trust the science.’”