NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — As newly-eligible children roll up their sleeves to get the COVID-19 vaccine, some places are still struggling to get adults to receive the shot.
In Massachusetts, Bristol County remains at the bottom when it comes to vaccination numbers, with the most recent state data showing 58% of residents are fully vaccinated.
In New Bedford, the numbers are even lower. The city only just reached the 50% vaccination rate, according to state data released Nov. 4, with 50,152 residents fully vaccinated out of the total population of 99,980.
Data from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health shows 57,759 individuals in New Bedford have been partially vaccinated.
Compare that to the entire state, with more than 68% of Bay State residents fully vaccinated.
While New Bedford remains near the bottom of the list when it comes to vaccinations, it’s among the highest when it comes to COVID case numbers. The city’s 14-day average daily incidence rate is 29.9 per 100,000 residents, per the latest report from MDPH, the highest in Bristol County.
The numbers are improving, however. Weekly data as of Nov. 4 showed 191 news cases in the city, compared to 222 the week before.
In his state of the city address last month, Mayor Jon Mitchell said the way to get the virus under control is to get more people to roll up their sleeves.
“It remains more difficult here than most places because the vaccination rates across Southeastern Massachusetts remain stubbornly low, and especially so in the city,” Mayor Mitchell said in his address on Oct. 21.
“The unvaccinated have left themselves vulnerable. We’re reminded of this every day, and not just by medical experts. Since the vaccines became widely available, almost everyone in New Bedford who has died of COVID was unvaccinated,” Mitchell continued.
COVID vaccines have been mandated for New Bedford city employees, and the mayor is encouraging other employers to follow suit.