New Bedford Door-to-Door Vaccination Effort Slowly Making an Impact
So far, the effort to go door-to-door in New Bedford to offer the COVID-19 vaccination to those who haven't yet received one is slowly making a dent in the city's number of unvaccinated adults, but it's still slow going.
Pam Cole, the leader of the Commission for Citizens with Disabilities team for the Vaccination Connect Network, said the network is looking “for new recruits, to go block-by-block, house by house, door-to-door, for a community canvass program that brings vaccinations into the homes of shut-ins, house-bound people and anyone who hasn’t had the shot yet.”
Starting Tuesday, July 19, an app is available that tells volunteers whether or not the members of any given household have been vaccinated. That will help target exactly which doors need a knocking.
“I visited 18 homes on Saturday, plus we covered people walking along Acushnet Avenue, in the North End. We knocked on doors and handed out flyers in Spanish, Portuguese and English to pedestrians, until they ran out," Cole said. “We had some people who refused to take one, but generally speaking, everyone was polite and friendly.”
Cole said one out of 10 wouldn’t talk to her at all.
“Others who didn’t want to be bothered, just said 'no thank you,' or no, they’re not interested," she said. "Judging from the canvass, I’d say five out of 10 weren’t responsive."
This is reflective of the low number of New Bedford residents who are not vaccinated. On the other hand, Cole was optimistic about the housebound people they reached out to, many of whom didn’t speak English, and through an interpreter were willing and grateful to get vaccinated in their homes.
Cole admitted that it’s a monumental labor of love to walk the neighborhoods, knock on the doors and speak to as many people who are willing to listen.
"There was this nice young man who received his shots already, but not his wife, because was ready to give birth any day now. She did say that after the baby is born, she’s going to get vaccinated," Cole said.
There's truth that kindly acts do turn into good deeds gradually, over time, bit by bit, inch by inch, little by little.