Mobile COVID-19 Vaccination Buses Visit Local Communities to Reach Underserved Communities

‘Mobile Vax’ is a service provided by the combined organization of Tufts Health Plan and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care in collaboration with East Boston Neighborhood Health Center

Watertown/Wellesley, Mass. (April 26, 2021) – To reach traditionally underserved communities in several Massachusetts cities and towns, the combined organization of Tufts Health Plan and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care has initiated ‘Mobile Vax’, an initiative to reach and vaccinate more people for COVID-19, particularly in Black and Brown communities and non-English speaking populations.

Hundreds of people were able to receive their first COVID-19 vaccination dose in East Boston this past weekend. The initiative is supported by The East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC) and Last Mile Vaccine Delivery, a new public/private partnership service that aims to accelerate vaccine distribution.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted Black and Brown communities and it is critical that these communities have easy access to vaccines,” said Tom Croswell, CEO of the combined organization of Tufts Health Plan and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. “By bringing mobile vaccination clinics directly into the community, this collaboration is removing obstacles to accessing these life-saving vaccines.”

“This collaboration brings the COVID-19 vaccine directly to the hardest hit communities,” said Greg Wilmot, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center. “It underscores that equity is a priority for us and that we’re committed to finding new and creative ways to reach our community.”

“Many Latino families will not be able to take time off from work to stand in line at a mass vaccination center, but if you bring the vaccine to them, then people will be more comfortable being vaccinated,” said Juan Lopera, Vice President and Corporate Business Diversity Officer at the combined organization of Tufts Health Plan and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and Co-Chair of the Latino Equity Fund. “We have an opportunity to increase vaccine access in hard-hit, underserved communities while contracting with minority-owned firms to bring culturally-relevant resources to help families register.”

Latino Equity Fund (LEF), the only philanthropic Latinx-focused fund in Massachusetts and an affiliate of The Boston Foundation, facilitated its connections to work with the combined organization of Tufts Health Plan and Harvard Pilgrim to offer vaccine access to these communities and help overcome vaccine hesitancy.

ASG, a Boston-based multicultural marketing agency is working to make residents of these communities aware of the mobile units and have engaged community organizers to call and door-knock to invite residents to this free community service and to provide them with the information needed to register. DPV, minority-owned business that transforms ground transportation to move companies and communities forward, is providing transportation for this effort.

The mobile clinics aim to administer up to 500 vaccinations per day and will visit East Boston, Chelsea, Holyoke, and Chicopee over the next several weeks. The mobile vaccination clinics require an appointment scheduled by community organizers.

About Tufts Health Plan and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care

The combination of Tufts Health Plan and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care represents the coming together of two of New England’s most iconic nonprofit health care companies. Representing nearly 90 years of combined service to our members and the community, together we are building upon our diverse legacies and innovative collaboration by making it our purpose to guide and empower healthier lives for our members – no matter their age, health, race, identity or income.

We strive to be a different kind of nonprofit health and well-being company, with a broad range of health plans, and innovative tools that make navigating health and well-being easier, guiding our members at every step of their health care journey to better health outcomes. We are committed to providing high-quality and affordable health care, improving the health and wellness of our members, and creating healthier communities throughout New England.

About the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center

The East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC) has been a vital part of the community for 50 years. As the largest Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) in Massachusetts and one of the largest in the country, EBNHC’s mission is to provide accessible, affordable, high-quality, personalized health care for those living and working in East Boston, Chelsea, Revere, Everett, and the South End, without regard to age, income, insurance status, language, culture, or social circumstances.

About Last Mile Vaccine Delivery

Last Mile Vaccine Delivery, an innovative mobile vaccination service formed by Mascon Medical, Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts (PFFM) and Brewster Ambulance Service, is answering the call to augment COVID-19 vaccinations among Massachusetts’ most-vulnerable communities. Following inaugural events in Chelsea and Quincy, the service has grown to host more vaccination clinics in underserved communities and communities of color, effectively responding to requests for operational and logistical support by municipalities, government agencies and other non-profits. Last Mile Vaccine Delivery has also administered COVID-19 vaccines at home through mobile vaccination units. The goal of the service is to address transportation and accessibility challenges in those local urban communities most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a minority-owned business, Mascon Medical is sensitive to the needs of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable residents and created Last Mile Vaccine Delivery to help resolve equity issues with COVID-19 vaccine distribution and answer the call of Governor Charlie Baker to accelerate COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Massachusetts. For more information, visit www.masconmedical.com.

About Latino Equity Fund

Established in 2013, the Latino Equity Fund is the first and only Latino-focused fund in Massachusetts and is a unique partnership of Latino philanthropists and leaders, the Boston Foundation and Hispanics in Philanthropy. Known at its inception as the Latino Legacy Fund, the fund advisory board decided in 2020 to change the fund’s name to reflect its commitment to creating a more just and equitable community for Latinos in Greater Boston

As a permanent, committee-advised Field of Interest Fund, the Latino Equity Fund contributes to the region’s civic vitality by supporting organizations that help Latinos realize their full potential, with a specific focus on improving the educational experiences of Latinos in Greater Boston from early childhood through post-secondary education.

Contact

Phil Tracey/philip_tracey@harvardpilgrim.org
Kathleen Makela/Kathleen_Makela@tufts-health.com
Matt Wilder/matt@wilderstrategies.com