Pop-up vaccine clinics coming to New Bedford, Fall River next week

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CHELSEA, Mass. (WPRI) — Mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinics will soon be seen in both New Bedford and Fall River, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Thursday.

Starting next week, mobile vaccination clinics will pick up approximately 500 doses at the Hynes Convention Center daily and set up in five major cities across the state.

“These cities were selected based on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s special vulnerability index and their proximity to the Hynes,” Baker explained.

Boston, Chelsea and Revere will also be included in the mobile vaccination efforts, with doses ramping up over time at each of them, according to the governor.

“Most of these mobile unit pop-up clinics will set up in city parks, parking lots and other places that are easy to access for community members,” he said. “The program will also include grassroots efforts in each community to raise awareness about these mobile clinics and a system booking appointments.”

The program is expected to run for approximately eight weeks and is an addition to the homebound vaccination efforts launched last week.

Baker said the state will also be investing $20 million to promote equity across the 20 communities hit hardest by the pandemic. Mass. Secretary of Health Marylou Sudders said they are also ramping up testing in these communities.

“While there has been a significant decline in daily testing nationally, the Massachusetts test counts have actually stayed pretty high,” Baker said.

The governor explained there has been an uptick in new cases, mostly seen in residents under 40 years old, and stressed the importance of staying vigilant during the Easter holiday.

“It would be great if people could continue to celebrate with their immediate household,” he said. “If you spend time, any length of time, with other people, we urge you to wear masks and maintain a certain amount of distance.”

Baker also urged everyone not to share food or drinks, to consider holding gatherings outside and to open a window for ventilation if the gathering is held inside.

“When you do gather with your family and your close friends we please ask you not to drop your guard,” he said. “The virus, as we know from previous holidays, has a particular opportunity to spread in those environments.”

On Wednesday, Baker said Massachusetts is expecting to receive 100,000 Johnson & Johnson doses next week. That same day, Johnson & Johnson announced a COVID-19 vaccine batch failed a quality check.

Sudders confirmed next week’s dose allotment will not be impacted by the announcement, but future shipments might be.

“The federal government has indicated that the next few weeks doses is under review and we will have more information about that next week,” she said.

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