Mayor Kim Janey announced a new effort Tuesday aimed at encouraging Bostonians to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Janey and Health and Human Services Chief Marty Martinez unveiled the Boston Public Health Commission's "Hope" campaign, a new multilingual public awareness push, at an afternoon press conference at City Hall.
“This campaign was created to speak to the heart of what has been missing in our lives and what can be better, if we get vaccinated," Janey said. "Every dose of the COVID-19 vaccine brings us one step closer to putting this pandemic behind us. Every dose gives us new hope for brighter days ahead."
She encouraged every Bostonian to get vaccinated when it is their turn. Until then, she said they should stay vigilant by wearing masks in public, washing their hands, keeping their distance and continuing to get tested regularly.
The new public awareness campaign features ads with a diverse group of people who speak a variety of languages and aims to build trust with communities of color and others disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
“An equitable response and recovery from this pandemic means we must break down barriers so that every Bostonian not only has access to the vaccine but also has the information needed to make an informed decision about getting it,” said Marty Martinez, the city's chief of health and human services. “This vaccine gives us hope as we continue to battle this virus and look forward to life after COVID. The best way to protect yourself, your loved ones and your community is to get the vaccine when it is available to you.”
Martinez warned that cases in Boston are now rising, as the average daily cases jumped 39% over the past week and the positivity rate went from 4.2% to 5.2%.
Janey and Martinez said Boston is taking a four-pronged approach to vaccination, including mass vaccination clinics, clinics for priority groups, community-based public clinics and mobile vaccination sites.
Right now, Martinez said 35.7% of Bostonians have gotten at least one shot, and almost 20% of residents 16 or older are fully vaccinated.
"While we have much work to do, we're making real progress in our response," he said.
Janey, who officially announced her campaign for a full term as mayor Tuesday, unveiled a new campaign Monday to promote an equitable recovery for the city's tourism and hospitality industries as well as small businesses which have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I'm proud to announce 'All Inclusive Boston,'" she said. "It showcases Boston as a city with a new generation of entrepreneurs, innovators and artists -- a city that is welcoming to everyone."
Unlike past travel and tourism promotions, highlighting places like Fenway Park and Faneuil Hall, this effort has a different focus.
"The all inclusive Boston campaign boldly puts our people and our neighborhoods front and center for the very first time," the mayor said.
At her last COVID briefing on Thursday, Janey said she continues to closely monitor coronavirus data with a team of health officials to determine whether any reopening adjustments need to be made. She also said she was considering implementing more stringent coronavirus restrictions in Boston, citing a "troubling" rise in cases.
“We will continue to closely monitor the data and make any decisions regarding reopening or rollbacks based on the metrics. We understand people are tired of this pandemic but the virus is still spreading in our City," a Boston Public Health Commission spokesperson said in a statement Thursday. "We are asking everyone to continue to take steps to protect themselves and each other: wear a mask in public, wash your hands often, avoid crowds, watch your distance and get tested regularly. And when it is your turn, get vaccinated.”
The city continues to see an increasing positivity rate, which as of Thursday stood at 4.8%, up from 4.2%. That's a .9% increase, which translates into over 216 cases per day, Janey noted.
Janey said she continues to monitor coronavirus activity across six key metrics: daily positive cases, daily percent of positive cases, community COVID tests, COVID related emergency room visits, available ICU and medical surgical beds and ICU bed occupancy.