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Massachusetts will kick off an outreach campaign next week in the 20 highest-risk cities and towns aimed at boosting access to the COVID-19 vaccine and addressing any hesitation among vulnerable populations, officials said Thursday.

A team of 200 bilingual community organizers will hold a total of 83 events across those communities, plus conduct door-to-door canvassing and phone-banking to spread awareness about the availability and value of vaccines.

Combined with grants the Commonwealth will direct to local health boards in those cities and towns, officials hope to help drive up vaccination in places where rates still lag and where residents have been particularly hard-hit.

The community events set to launch next week, part of a plan developed alongside Archipelago Strategies and Health Care for All, involve locally hired organizers in Boston, Brockton, Chelsea, Everett, Fall River, Fitchburg, Framingham, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Methuen, New Bedford, Randolph, Revere, Springfield, and Worcester.

The Commonwealth will make $4.7 million available to those cities and towns from a pool of $20 million in funding pledged to help support them. The so-called "best value grants" will flow directly to the municipalities without a formal application process.


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