Hours after announcing her intention to seek the mayoralty outright, acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey assumed the podium and rolled out a coronavirus vaccine ad campaign targeted at the city’s disproportionately impacted residents.
As of March 30, about 35% of Bostonians over the age of 16 have received at least one vaccine shot. Nearly 21% of residents have been fully vaccinated, while 45% of those fully inoculated are people of color.
Janey said Tuesday that the multilingual Hope Campaign aims to build trust with non-English speakers and communities of color across Boston’s neighborhoods to boost those figures.
“We know that people of color are more likely to get COVID-19, and that if they do, they are more likely to die," she told reporters. "So, we are addressing the needs of the entire city. The Hope Campaign lets every Boston resident know the vaccine is their shot at hope.”
Vaccinations and vaccination equity, she said, are at the top of the city’s pandemic recovery agenda.
The ad campaign announcement came as the city saw yet another COVID-19 caseload increase, this time up to an average of 246 cases per day. The city’s positivity rate now stands at 5.2% — above the 5% threshold that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention set as a red flag.
Earlier in the pandemic, when coronavirus treatment was less sophisticated, an increase to that level would have alarmed public health officials because deaths and challenging levels of hospitalization would have followed.
Health and Human Services chief Marty Martinez said the spike has not sent more people into hospitals — a metric city officials have said would trigger more alarm. The increasingly active spread of COVID does, however, illustrate that precautions are still necessary, he said.
“We’re grateful that those increases in rates of positivity have not been seen in our hospitalization numbers yet, and that’s important," Martinez said. "But it’s important we do all that we can."
Janey said the Hope Campaign, which was conceived earlier this year under former Mayor Mart Walsh, will continue through June.
Aside from the ad push, Janey said the city is pursuing vaccinations with a four-pronged approach: mass vaccination sites, priority group clinics, community-based clinics and mobile vaccination units.