BROCKTON — Incredibly impressive, efficient, effective and run like a machine — that’s how U.S. Sen. Edward Markey described Brockton’s COVID-19 vaccination clinic after a visit to the Shaw’s Center on Monday.
It was Markey’s first visit to an indoors vaccine site.
“This is a model for the rest of the country,” Markey said, shortly after receiving a tour of the recently renovated facility.
The senator’s stop in the city largely focused on how the coronavirus pandemic has disproportionately affected communities of color. Brockton is a majority Black city.
“Communities of color continue to suffer from the worst impacts of this public health crisis,” Markey said. “They were the first to get the virus, they were the first to have to stay on the job. They could not Skype into their jobs. They had to show up for their jobs and have greater risk for themselves and greater risk for their families when they went home. And they were the first to die, but the last to get the relief and care that they needed during this crisis.”
Markey said the American Rescue Plan is helping communities recover from the effects of the pandemic, including providing funding to community health centers like the Brockton Neighborhood Health Center, which is operating the Shaw’s Center vaccination clinic.
The Brockton Neighborhood Health Center received the third-highest amount of funding of all Massachusetts community health centers from the stimulus package at $7,404,000, behind only $14,723,875 to the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center and $8,527,500 to the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center.
“I’m thankful that we’re in a position to actually keep going, meet our expenses and keep serving our community,” said Sue Joss, CEO of the Brockton health center.
Markey, who was joined by Mayor Robert Sullivan, other city officials and the city’s legislative delegation, said local vaccine clinics like the one in Brockton are crucial.
“In order to expedite the vaccinations of the most people, you have to involve the local community, the local elected officials, the local community health center. Because they know the community best,” he said. “What we’re seeing here today is a perfect example of a well-executed plan to telescope the timeframe it’s going to take to ensure that everyone in Brockton is vaccinated.”
The Brockton Neighborhood Health Center, with the help of the city, Brockton Emergency Management Agency and Massachusetts National Guard, is now administering about 800 vaccine doses a day to eligible health center patients and Brockton residents.
“This facility is being run like a machine. It is absolutely as efficient as you could ever hope something could be,” Markey said. “It’s great that the National Guard are here to help, as well. I think people that the people in Brockton should be very proud of this facility and they should also feel very welcome to come over to get their vaccine.”
Enterprise senior reporter Cody Shepard can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on Twitter at @cshepard_ENT. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Enterprise today.