The Springfield Information Vax Force Committee will provide credible COVID-19 Coronavirus resources to the citizens of Springfield using science, data, and information to guide the decision-making and explain the vaccination process, in layman’s terms. The committee will collect data, develop communication strategies and provide community outreach to help explain and clarify what vaccines are, how the vaccine is effective, what to expect once you are vaccinated and the best practices to use after being vaccinated. In addition, the Vax Force will help to debunk the myths about the vaccine and dispel rumors and misinformation. The Vax Force will also help examine the distrust of vaccines within marginalized groups within the community.
The Vax Force is comprised of 15 committee members offering expertise in the areas of health clinician data and information, research, education, faith, and diversity, equity and inclusion.
Mayor Sarno states, “I want to thank all the members of the Vax Force committee for volunteering their time to serve on this vital and important committee to help get our message across multiple platforms for maximum reach. As we continued our overall efforts to defeat this COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic – ‘and we will!’ Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris and I are dedicated to organizing a comprehensive plan to educate and when the time comes to effectively and efficiently help with the distribution of the vaccine. The committee is made up of a group of diverse, respected and trusted individuals within our Springfield community to reassure our residents that by utilizing science, medical and public health information on the important role the vaccine will play to keeping us all healthy. This recovery and rebounding step is critical in not only defeating COVID-19, but just as important, vital in building concrete public, consumer and business confidence. I am very grateful to Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris and all committee members, who have agreed to serve and guide our efforts to develop a comprehensive communication strategy.”
HHS Commissioner Caulton-Harris stated, “I am grateful to the members of the Vax Force Committee who have agreed to serve. The taskforce will examine the distrust of vaccines within segments of our population and to explain, in layman’s terms, how the vaccine is effective.”
“When the time comes and for those of us on the committee who have not yet received the vaccine, we will all lead by example and get the vaccine shot too,” said Mayor Sarno. “Conspiracy theories never solved any medical challenge, vaccines do.”
Those present in the Zoom meeting were Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris, Chief of Staff Tom Ashe, Communications Director William Baker, and Health and Human Services Administrative Assistant Shirley Lebron. Vax Force Committee members in attendance were Executive Director for the Springfield Housing Authority Denise Jordan, Nursing Supervisory for Springfield Public Schools Jeanne Clancy, CEO for New North Citizens Council Maria Ligus, COO for New North Citizens Council Jose Claudio, Coordinator for Stone Soul Festival Tracy Chappell, Dr. Jeffrey Scavron from Brightwood Health Center, Director of UMass Population Health Capstone Dr. Sarah McAdoo, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for Baystate Health Ysmisi Oloruntola-Coates, Director of Operations Harm Reduction for Tapestry Health Systems Damaris Jones, Chair of the Medical Reserve Corp. Maria Elsie Sanchez, Clinical Associate Professor of Community Care for the Western New England University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Dr. Melissa Mattison, Dr. Kathleen Szegda from the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts, and Dr. Andrew Balder from the Mason Square Health Center.