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State vaccination grants target harder-to-reach groups

June 8, 2021 GMT

BOSTON (AP) — About $3.2 million in grants and contracts have been awarded to community-based organizations to increase awareness and access to the COVID-19 vaccine in the 20 Massachusetts cities and towns hardest hit by the pandemic, the Baker administration announced Tuesday.

Seven new community-based organizations, community health centers, and behavioral health centers will receive $2.2 million to support vaccine navigation services and customized vaccine administration.

The organizations will help link individuals to vaccination services in the community, and directly administer vaccinations to groups that have not been reached by other outreach efforts.

Those groups include populations that may benefit from one-on-one vaccination support, such as substance use disorder treatment facilities, places of worship, homeless encampments, food pantries and congregate meal locations, LGBTQ community programs, shelters and day programs, and immigrant assistance centers.

An additional $1 million is being awarded to 23 organizations to support efforts to expand vaccine education and awareness that address the specific needs of the indigenous, Black, Latinx, Asian, and other communities of color within the 20 prioritized communities.

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VIRUS BY THE NUMBERS

The number of new daily cases of COVID-19 increased by 100 Tuesday while the number of newly confirmed coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts rose by two.

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The new numbers pushed the state’s confirmed COVID-19 death toll to 17,554 since the start of the pandemic, while its confirmed caseload rose to about 662,300.

The true number of cases is likely higher because studies suggest some people can be infected and not feel sick.

There were about 170 people reported hospitalized Tuesday because of confirmed cases of COVID-19, with about 60 in intensive care units.

The average age of those hospitalized was 58. There were an estimated 3,800 people with current active cases of COVID-19 in the state.

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IMMUNIZATIONS

More than 8.1 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Massachusetts as of Tuesday.

That includes more than 4.2 million first doses and more than 3.6 million second doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. There have been more than 259,000 doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered.

More than 3.8 million people have been fully immunized.

Gov. Charlie Baker has set a goal of 4.1 million people in the state fully vaccinated.

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WHALING MUSEUM

The New Bedford Whaling Museum is offering free admission passes to anyone who gets a coronavirus vaccine at a clinic at the museum Wednesday.

In addition, the first 25 people who get a shot will also get a gift bag from the museum’s gift shop.

The clinic will be administering the Pfizer vaccine, which has received federal authorization for use in anyone age 12 and older. Preregistration is encouraged but walk-ins are also welcome to get a shot, which are free, according to the museum.

A follow-up clinic for the second dose will take place June 30.

Vaccine check-in and in-person registration will be located at the rear entrance and doses will be administered inside the building.

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MOVIE THEATER CLOSING

A Massachusetts movie theater that was forced to shut down at the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020 won’t reopen, a company official said.

Mark Malinowski, vice president of a global marketing for Showcase Cinemas, told The Telegram & Gazette that the theater site on Brooks Street in Worcester is under contract to be sold.

The 17.5-acre (7-hectare) property, which includes the 95,000-square-foot (8825-square-meter) theater complex, has an assessed value of about $6.8 million.

The cinema has been open since 1996.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.