Saturday, February 20, 2021 – Today the City of Boston partnered with the Massachusetts Association for the Blind, Visually Impaired (MABVI) to arrange for older adults with vision loss to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Roxbury. Fourteen individuals were vaccinated this afternoon through the coordinated effort by MABVI, the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), City of Boston’s Age Strong Commission and the Commission for Persons with Disabilities.
Boston is working with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to vaccinate residents against COVID-19. Following the State's lead, the City is working to create equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine across all populations and neighborhoods in the city.
“We need to break down barriers that may prevent some individuals from getting vaccinated. I’m grateful for the partnership with MABVI to make today’s appointments happen as we work to ensure that all Bostonians have access to the vaccine when they’re eligible,” said Chief of Health and Human Services, Marty Martinez.
After targeted outreach to schedule appointments, individuals were greeted at the door of the Reggie Lewis Center and guided by a trained volunteer who provided language and accessibility support through the entire vaccination process. In advance of today’s vaccination session, MABVI provided training for clinic staff to create a safe, welcoming space for everyone.
“We are very grateful to the City for their commitment to ensuring access to the site. Breaking down the transportation barrier for our participants who have faced challenges finding rides and guides to assist them is critical, especially during this time of social isolation and distancing,” said Kyle Robidoux, Director of Volunteer Services & Community Planning for MABVI.
"Mayor Walsh's priority is to ensure that all eligible residents with disabilities have access to the vaccine," said Boston Disability Commissioner Kristen McCosh. "Partnering with trusted disability agencies such as MABVI is crucial to this effort."
Under state guidance, vaccines are now available to adults 65+ and individuals with two or more certain medical conditions. For more information on when and where you will be eligible to receive the vaccine, visit Mass.gov/COVIDvaccine. To find a vaccination site in the City of Boston, visit boston.gov/COVID19vaccine. Individuals aged 65 and older who do not have internet access, or who are having trouble navigating the site, are encouraged to call 3-1-1 to get connected to the City's Age Strong Commission. They can help answer questions and navigate the options available. Residents outside of Boston can call 2-1-1, the Mass Vaccine Scheduling Resource line. Translators are available to assist.
About the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired:
Founded in 1903, Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired is one of the oldest social service organizations in the country supporting adults and seniors who are blind or low vision. A division of MAB Community Services, Inc., MABVI is a leading provider of integrated medical, social, and rehabilitation services for adults and seniors with vision loss. MABVI empowers individuals and offers them the tools they need to accomplish their goals by helping to remove barriers and increasing access to services. MABVI partners with numerous medical, elder services, and community agencies to create high-impact, cost-effective services for over 1500 for blind and low vision people across the Commonwealth.
About the Boston Public Health Commission:
The Boston Public Health Commission, one of the country's oldest health departments, is an independent public agency providing a wide range of health services and programs. It is governed by a seven-member board of health appointed by the Mayor of Boston. Public service and access to quality health care are the cornerstones of our mission - to protect, preserve and promote the health and well-being of all Boston residents, particularly those who are most vulnerable. The Commission's more than 40 programs are grouped into six bureaus: Emergency Medical Services; Child Adolescent & Family Health; Community Health Initiatives; Homeless Services; Infectious Disease; and Recovery Services.
About the Age Strong Commission:
The Age Strong Commission works towards making Boston a city that fully embraces aging. Our mission is to enhance the lives of people 55+ with meaningful programs, resources, and connections so we can live and age strong together in Boston. For more than 50 years, we have served constituents as a City department, Council on Aging, and Area Agency on Aging. In 2017, the Commission launched its Age-Friendly Action Plan, which is the City's blueprint to make Boston the best city to live and age in.
About the City of Boston Commission for Persons with Disabilities:
The Commission for Persons with Disabilities facilitates full and equal participation in all aspects of life by persons with disabilities in the City of Boston. The Commission strives to reduce architectural, procedural, attitudinal, and communication barriers that affect persons with disabilities. The Commission coordinates and monitors the City’s compliance with federal, state, and city civil rights laws for persons with disabilities.