We've turned a hopeful corner in the COVID-19 crisis, while simultaneously, the number of vaccinations has regrettably plummeted.

We'll soon be hearing that most restrictions will have finished sooner than August 1, and that will be a much-needed break. The unconcluded issue is how do you get half of the unvaccinated population to take the shot?

If there's a lesson or two we should learn from all this, it is centralized distribution may work well somewhere else, but here on the SouthCoast, the local neighborhood clinics work best. Also, if we want others here to get vaccinated, the shot has to be brought to them. We have to meet them where they are because it increases the odds of vaccinating people who are not too eager to take the shot.

The number of residents who have been fully inoculated is not strong enough yet to start herd immunity, so that's an additional reason the vaccination must be mobile and seek out those who need the shot, with no appointment necessary.

One of the weakest links has been clear communication from the state to local communities about where and when to get the shot. I have a feeling that a lot of businesses will be asking for proof of vaccination, whether it's to board a plane, go to a sporting event, or shopping; my hunch tells me those who don't have proof will be left behind as society moves forward.

The state has to do a much better job of getting the word out there about the location, dates and times for walk-in vaccinations, pop-up sites, and mobile clinics. And there's one more thing the communicators organizing this must understand: a great short story is infinitely more persuasive than a front-page ad.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at phil@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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