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A Harvard Doctor and a Medical Student Bring the COVID-19 Vaccines Directly to Their Patients

July 1, 2021

Some lower income and historically marginalized communities around the country were hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic but were slow to receive the vaccines. Harvard emergency medicine physician Alister Martin, MD, MPP, and medical student David Velasquez decided to intervene, founding GOTVax, an organization that uses Get Out the Vote tactics to increase vaccination rates in Boston communities that might not otherwise be able to access them. Partnering with several local community organizations, including Mascon Medical, the Boston Housing Authority, and the South End Community Health Center, GOTVax has coordinated clinics at Iglesia La Luz del Mundo church in East Boston every Saturday since early April, resulting in thousands more people being protected from COVID-19. A new survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation suggests that mobile clinics like this one could dramatically increase vaccination rates, with 17% of unvaccinated adults saying they would be more likely to get vaccinated if a mobile clinic came to their neighborhood. Those rates rise to 22% for unvaccinated Black adults and 33% for unvaccinated Hispanic adults.