WOONSOCKET – One hundred city residents received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine this month as a result of a joint effort between Thundermist Health Center and NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley.
Residents of the Fairmount neighborhood were able to walk to the clinic, which was held at the NeighborWorks Office. Locating the clinic within a walkable distance and attempting to personally connect with neighborhood residents were vital parts of the effort, organizers said.
“We did our best to reach everyone in the neighborhood via email, phone calls and text,” said Margaux Morisseau, director of community engagement at NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley. “We shared our vaccination experiences, answered questions and addressed any concerns people may have.”
Adding a festive feel to the event also helped allay concern over receiving the vaccine, Morisseau added.
“This was a great example of how community collaborations can enhance the vaccine efforts,” she said.
The need for such events is pressing in Woonsocket, where COVID-19 infection rates continue to outpace vaccinations, said Dr. Sapna Chowdhry, medical director of Thundermist Health Center of Woonsocket and an infectious-disease specialist.
“Our city is lagging in the state for the percentage of population vaccinated. Collaborations like this are the answer,” Chowdhry said. “Thundermist plans to work with local partners to address the disparities that have been evident throughout this pandemic.”
Elizabeth Graham is a PBN contributing writer.