BROCKTON (CBS) - A temperature check and standard questions start the six hour shift for Amirah Gibson. She's a canvasser, going door to door in a Brockton neighborhood sharing information about the COVID vaccines and access to them.
One resident Anas Asha tells her he's confused about the signup. "I'm glad you're here," he said. He also thought he had to pay for the vaccine. "I didn't know it was free until I read the pamphlet," said Asha.
Gibson says she wants to build trust and share facts which is why she's part of the state's vaccine equity program, targeting 20 of the hardest hit communities, including Brockton. "I want them to know that I'm in the community, I'm with you, I was hesitant myself about having a vaccine, but it is better than having nothing to fight this thing," said Gibson.
She estimates about 30% of the residents in the homes she visits have some vaccine hesitancy, that only increased following the production problems with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. "Because of the Johnson and Johnson pause, people are basically concerned that what they thought was true is true, and they don't want any part of it," Gibson said.
Brockton resident Pennel Davie believes a lot of people do have hesitancy because "it's a new drug that was developed very quickly."
But there are other barriers to vaccination that Healthcare For All, which is partnering with the state is trying to deal with as well. "It might be immigration concerns, transportation concerns, religious concerns. We're trying to navigate the issues with someone who understands them and speaks their language," said Maria Gonzalez Albuixech, the organization's communications director.
Until Amirah Gibson reaches their door, that barrier might not have been broken. Which is why it's a state effort that's all about being local. "The way we describe the vaccine equity initiative is hyper-local. Go into these communities and understand the populations that need information," said Gonzalez Albuixech.
Visit Mass.Gov/CovidVaccine to book an appointment.
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