City Councilor Michelle Wu held a hearing today on ways to improve equity in the Covid-19 vaccination progress in the City of Boston. Amidst an inequitable and confusing roll-out, Michelle Wu has called for easily accessible vaccination sites with convenient hours for working Bostonians, linguistic and digital appointment access, and a regular release of information on vaccination progress by racial, ethnic and other demographic information. She has also proposed an ordinance extending paid sick time to City employees to receive the vaccination and, if necessary, recover from any possible side effects.
At the hearing, Councilor Wu also proposed opening vaccination sites to walk-in appointments, modeled after a successful pilot in Philadelphia that resulted in a dramatic increase in the proportion of Black and Latinx residents receiving the vaccine.
“Boston’s communities of color have been most impacted by COVID-19, and must be prioritized in the vaccine rollout,” said Michelle Wu. “The City of Boston has immense healthcare resources, and we must make it easier for every community to access vaccine appointments at hours and locations that work for them, coupled with a full outreach plan. We need to have trust and confidence that the vaccine rollout is fair, effective and works for every Bostonian.”
Though some strides have been made in equity, white Boston residents are still more likely than any other racial group to have received a shot, despite Black and brown communities being disproportionately affected by COVID-19. As Boston prepares for statewide vaccination guidelines to extend eligibility to all adults on April 19, it’s essential that City officials plan proactively for equitable next steps.