State legislators hope to address vaccine hesitancy in rural parts of MA

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (WWLP) – Throughout the vaccine rollout, state leaders have discussed ways to improve vaccine hesitancy in urban areas, but what about residents in rural parts of the state?

The Baker administration has put dozens of programs in place to improve vaccination rates in inner-city communities but members of the western Massachusetts delegation told 22News that that’s not happening in some of their communities that need it most.

Right now, cities and towns in metro Boston lead the state in vaccination rates.

In Middlesex County, for example, 49 percent of the population have received their doses, versus Berkshire County where just 32 percent of the population is vaccinated.

This regional divide isn’t just hurting western Massachusetts, Cape Cod currently has the lowest vaccination rate in the state with just 3 percent of people getting their shots. An issue that lawmakers blame on vaccine accessibility.

“The answer is we need to make it very convenient for everybody. I myself just went in today for a walk-in vaccine when I had a free hour, and I think that’s maybe the way we get there, lets make it as easy as possible for folks,” Senator Adam Hinds told 22News.

Lawmakers like Senator Hinds who represents rural areas are hoping to see the state direct more resources to walk-in clinics, mobile vaccine clinics, and others.

That way residents that live outside of major population centers will be able to get a vaccine without having to travel too far.

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