MATTAPAN (TBEN) – Less than 40% of people in Mattapan are vaccinated against COVID-19, well below the averages for the city of Boston and the state of Massachusetts.
About 39.9% of people in Mattapan have been vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Boston Public Health Commission.
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This is compared to 70.9% of people vaccinated in Allston / Brighton, 67.1% in Jamaica Plain and 72.5% in South End in Boston.
“I thought about it for a while,” Gary Mathis told WBZ as he walked Blue Hill Avenue in Mattapan on Wednesday. “The long term effects like the last parts are what’s scary,” he added. “I like to find out years, months later that it is the cause of other health problems.”
Health experts have refuted claims that the vaccine may have unknown long-term side effects, explaining that side effects of vaccines are usually experienced in the first few days or weeks.
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Epidemiologists say the vaccine is the best tool we have to fight COVID-19. In neighborhoods where most people are not vaccinated, like Mattapan, this creates the possibility of another large COVID-19 outbreak with serious illness and death.
“Because when unvaccinated people are in communities with other unvaccinated people, they don’t have that community immunity,” explained Dr. Shira Doron of Tufts Medical Center. “They are able to pass on to each other and they are able to see this exponential growth or this spread. [of COVID-19]. “
Now state and community leaders are making a concerted effort to bring Mattapan’s numbers on par with the rest of the city and state. Acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey held a virtual meeting to discuss efforts in Mattapan on Wednesday evening, focusing on multilingual efforts to reach out to the largely immigrant community and ways to meet people there where they are to encourage them to get the vaccine.
“It’s a very difficult message to get across because of course people still don’t trust the government in some ways,” Mattapan State Representative Russell E. Holmes told WBZ.
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It is also part of efforts to get more people vaccinated with COVID-19. “I myself drove people to get shot,” he said. “We haven’t given up on people and we’re going to do everything we can to bring these numbers to something much more city-friendly.”