The city of Boston will deploy mobile COVID-19 vaccination teams as it pushes to protect residents from all neighborhoods and demographic groups from the disease, Health and Human Services chief Marty Martinez said Tuesday.
The new program will be rolled out this weekend, when personnel from Boston Emergency Medical Services visit a Boston Housing Authority building in Roxbury.
“This is really an effort to vaccinate folks where they need the vaccines to come to them,” Martinez said at a press briefing.
In the future, Martinez said, the city will use three such teams to distribute vaccines citywide.
Martinez described the initiative as part of a four-pronged strategy to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are distributed equitably throughout the city. The other three components include mass-vaccination clinics at Fenway Park and Northeastern University’s Reggie Lewis Center; clinics for certain priority groups, like an upcoming essential-worker clinic slated for March 8 in Mattapan; and site-specific local clinics, where members of the public can drop in at their convenience during operating hours.
“That will be the strategy that we will take into the rest of this vaccine … effort, to make sure that we’re doing a little bit of everything,” Martinez said.
Moving forward, Boston also plans to release vaccination data broken down by neighborhood, age, race and ethnicity on a weekly basis. The first such release occurred Monday, the day before Martinez’s briefing.
The city is also planning a new public-awareness campaign — building on existing outreach efforts, and launching sometime in the next few weeks — to convince residents to get vaccinated as soon as they have an opportunity.
Right now, Martinez said, some Boston residents seem skeptical of the new, single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, an attitude he described as unfounded.
“We know that the J&J vaccine has proven to be 85% effective after 14 days to prevent COVID hospitalization and sever illness, and 100% effective at preventing death in its trial,” Martinez said.
“That means it is part of the equation, of being a highly effective vaccine to prevent the spread of COVID," he added. "We want people to take the first vaccine that’s available to them, and we think that’s super important.”