Jun 14, 2021

In early February, Massachusetts announced its intention to open up vaccine eligibility to residents living in “low income and affordable senior housing” as part of phase two of the State vaccination rollout. That’s when BHA staff sprang into action, mobilizing staff, volunteers and key partners to help vaccinate some of the most vulnerable residents in Boston.

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On February 29th, BHA held its first of more than 50 vaccination clinics at Ausonia and Monsignor Powers, giving staff and residents early on-site access to vaccines in our Elderly/Disabled public housing communities.

The clinics ramped up quickly, even as the supply of the vaccine proved spotty and hard to predict in the early rollout. BHA held 27 first-dose clinics and four second-dose clinics in the month of March. By the end of May, every BHA public housing community had held at least one vaccination clinic either on-site or at a nearby adjacent location. In total, more than 2600 BHA residents and staff volunteers have been vaccinated through BHA clinics.

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“Once residents started getting their vaccine, there was a sense of relief around the building,” said MLK Tenant Taskforce President Leon McCray, one of many resident volunteers who knocked doors and reached out to their neighbors to encourage vaccinations. “None of this could have happened without all of the volunteers that stepped up.”

There are so many people to thank for making this all happen. BHA communities received vaccine supplies from HUD, a number of City partners including BPHC and Boston’s EMS, the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, the Massachusetts Independent Pharmacists Association, East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, and GOTVax.

Catholic Charities of Boston, Boston Senior Homecare, Central Boston Elder Services and Ethos all provided volunteers to staff some of the clinics.

As for BHA, there are too many to count. Staff from every department volunteered, including often on weekends and evenings to make these clinics happen. They handled every aspect of the clinics, from knocking doors, temperature checks, watching the wait room, check-in, managing the lines, and signing residents up to get vaccinated. Resident leaders were instrumental in helping mobilize support for these clinics, sharing critical public health information with their neighbors, and helping residents sign up for vaccination appointments. Operations handled key logistics as the clinics made their way into the field, and the language access team and volunteer interpreters played a key role in helping residents at every clinic.

BHA is beginning to reopen for both residents and staff and we expect communities to begin resuming unity days and other community events this summer. A huge thanks to everyone who stepped up to make this all possible.

This press release was produced by the Boston Housing Authority. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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