BOSTON (WWLP) — Throughout the vaccine rollout, state leaders have discussed ways to improve vaccine hesitancy in urban areas, but what about residents in rural Massachusetts?
The Baker administration has put dozens of programs in place to improve vaccination rates in inner-city communities but members of the western Massachusetts delegation said that won’t happen in some of the communities that need it most.
Right now, cities and towns in metro-area Boston lead the state in vaccination rates. In Middlesex County, for example, 49% of the population have received their doses. Meanwhile, in Berkshire County, just 32% of the population is vaccinated. This divide isn’t just hurting western Massachusetts; Cape Cod currently has the lowest vaccination rate in the state, with just 3% of people getting their shots.
Lawmakers blame the issue on vaccine accessibility. “We need to make it very convenient for everybody. I myself just went in today for a walk-in vaccine when I had a free hour, and I think that’s maybe the way we get there. Let’s make it as easy as possible for folks,” said Sen. Adam Hinds.
Lawmakers like Senator Hinds, who represent rural areas, are hoping to see the state direct more resources to walk-in clinics, mobile vaccine clinics, and others. That way residents that live outside of major population centers will be able to get a vaccine without having to travel too far.