FALL RIVER — A new hotline and website launching this week is aimed at making it easier for Fall River residents to receive a COVID-19 vaccine by answering concerns and linking them to vaccination sites.
“It’ll be a one-stop place to see what’s going on,” said Meg Rogers, communications coordinator for United Way of Greater Fall River.
United Way has partnered with Fall River’s Department of Health and Human Services, Mayor Paul Coogan’s office and other organizations including United Neighbors of Fall River, SSTAR and Healthfirst Family Care Center to create the United We Help Vaccinate Fall River hotline, found by calling 1-833-8VAXNOW, and FRVAX.com website.
As of May 5, the hotline is staffed from noon to 8 p.m. seven days of the week with people fluent in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Cape Verdean Creole, with other translation services available. They’re there to answer questions and concerns that residents may have about the COVID-19 vaccine and to help people sign up for vaccine appointments.
The new website lists information for every site offering vaccinations in Fall River, including their address, contact information, which vaccines they are offering and whether an appointment is needed.
As of April 19, every Massachusetts residents aged 16 or older is eligible for the vaccine.
Fall River spend months in the “high risk” zone for COVID-19 transmission. But, Rogers pointed out, the city is lagging behind in terms of the number of residents who are vaccinated. This likely stems from several factors, including disinformation about the vaccine — people may think if they had the virus already, they don’t need to be vaccinated, or think because they typically don’t get the flu vaccine that it isn’t a big deal to skip this one, too. They also may be hesitant because the three vaccines available in the United States were all federally approved for use on an emergency basis, a quicker process than most vaccines.
But, she said, all three of the COVID-19 vaccines are safe, and taking them can help residents protect themselves, their loved ones and their neighbors.
“We’re just trying to make sure that the information is out there,” she said.