The Baker administration has taken steps to equitably distribute resources to fight COVID-19 for communities that need them most, including rapid tests and vaccines, as cases rise.
“As part of our public health toolkit, the administration is committed to increasing access to convenient at-home COVID-19 testing for our residents,” said the Secretary of Health and Human Services. , Marylou Sudders, on testing.
More than one million rapid tests will be distributed to eight of the state’s largest food banks and food access organizations, which serve more than 850,000 residents each month at 570 local food pantries. The rapid tests will be distributed with the food they distribute. Organizations will also receive COVID-19 self-testing instructions in multiple languages.
Organizations receiving the tests include the Greater Boston Food Bank, Worcester County Food Bank, Food Bank of Western MA, Merrimack Valley Food Bank, Community Servings, Daily Table, Food for Free and About Fresh.
More than 10 million rapid tests have already been distributed statewide this year to schools, early learning programs, emergency shelters, immigration-focused community organizations, community health centers, seniors’ residences, health and social service programs and other locations.
The Baker administration is also providing $4.5 million for COVID-19 vaccine equity efforts, part of the administration’s total $51 million investment to “promote vaccine access and trust, primarily in communities of color,” according to the Department of Public Health.
The grants come from major funding from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and will be channeled to community health centers and other community organizations to promote vaccines and boosters for communities disproportionately affected by COVID -19.
“These trusted community organizations know their communities best,” said Public Health Commissioner Margret Cooke. “They use their knowledge and connections to expand the efforts of our Vaccine Equity Initiative by helping to meet the unique health equity needs of the communities and populations they serve – needs that have been exacerbated by COVID-19. »
The award includes $1.1 million for 26 community and faith-based organizations, including Indigenous-focused groups, $3.1 million for the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers and $300,000 to support health equity vaccines for rural communities.
Massachusetts is the fifth most vaccinated state in the country, with 78% of the population fully vaccinated and 40% boosted. The most vaccinated state is Rhode Island, with 82% of its population fully vaccinated.