Diaspora

Randolph at forefront of vaccine initiative for Haitians – Wicked Local

With the rate of vaccination for Black residents in Massachusetts nearly 20 percentage points below the state average, organizations across the Commonwealth have come together to offer a special opportunity for the Haitian community to get vaccinated this weekend. 
The partner organizations include Randolph-based Haitian American Business Expo, Inc / U.S. Haitian Chamber of Commerce, the Authentic Caribbean Foundation, Immigrant Family Services Institute, Inc., Brockton Church of God, Pinnacle Partnerships, Brockton Workers Alliance, Randolph Board of Health, Essex County Community Organization, Malden YMCA, Greater Malden Asian American Community, the Everett Haitian Community Center, and First Haitian Baptist Church of Lawrence. 
On Dec. 18, vaccines will be offered at family vaccination events in eight locations across seven municipalities. These will include Haitian and Caribbean food and music from the Island, the first established family oriented Caribbean Restaurant in Malden and Gourmet Kreyol, Boston’s only Haitian food truck . Anyone who receives any dose at one of these events will get a $25 supermarket gift card.
“The Town of Randolph is proud to help organize this important event for our residents,” said Randolph Town Manager Brian Howard. “Ensuring equitable access in all aspects of public health is essential, but especially essential in Randolph as the Commonwealth’s most diverse town. The Town of Randolph has hosted over 300 vaccine clinics for our residents, we have hosted five virtual forums, and we have convened monthly vaccine equity committee meetings, along with countless other marketing and equity initiatives. This important work must be done to ensure our community remains healthy and resilient.”
This initiative is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
“With the growing concern about variants and a rise in case numbers, vaccines remain our best tool in the fight against COVID-19,” said Dr. Sandhya Rao, chief medical officer at Blue Cross. “Blue Cross is proud to continue supporting initiatives and partnerships that promote more equitable access to vaccination.” 
“With the unfortunate uptick of COVID-19 cases and the new Omicron variant already in Massachusetts, it is imperative to get as many people vaccinated to help stop the spread of COVID-19, ” stated Hans Patrick Domercant, president of the U.S. Haitian Chamber of Commerce. “We are honored to partner with state and local community organizations on this vital initiative.” 
“We are proud to ensure inclusion in the vaccine efforts for our Caribbean American friends and neighbors,” said Andrew Sharpe, Founder and CEO of Authentic Caribbean Foundation Inc. 
“Mistrust of the vaccines and the health care system in general continue to be an impediment although we have made great strides as the state has worked so hard to make equitable access to the vaccine,” said Rev. Myrlande DesRosiers, director of Everett Haitian Community Center. “This event is very important and an additional step as it will bring the vaccine to where the community congregates and help to overcome language and cultural barriers to vaccinate those in our community who wouldn’t otherwise have gotten the vaccines.”
Vaccines will be provided by Cataldo Ambulance Service, Inc, Fallon Ambulance Service, the Cambridge Health Alliance, the Randolph Board of Health, Mattapan Community Health Center and East Coast Health. First and second doses are available for individuals 5 and older and booster shots are available for adults. The vaccine is free and walk-ins are welcome. ID and health insurance are not required.
Date/Time: Saturday, Dec. 18, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Locations:
Everett Haitian Community Center – 427A Broadway St., Everett
First Haitian Baptist Church – 150 Garden St., Lawrence
Brockton Church of God – 90 Pleasant St., Brockton
Randolph Intergenerational Center – 128 Pleasant St., Randolph
Mattapan Community Health Center – 1575 Blue Hill Ave., Boston
Newland Street Housing – 275 Newland St., Malden
Linden Public Housing – 74 Wescott St., Malden
Tabernacle Evangelist de Louange – 7 Park St., Lynn
For more information, visit: http://www.ushaitianchamber.org.

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