SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Springfield city officials are continuing their push to defeat the COVID-19 virus encouraging vaccinations for everyone with a Shot for Shot basketball tournament Saturday.
Residents here will have a chance to take the courts in Forest Park while also getting their COVID-19 vaccinations.
“So, I’m telling them not only to make this shot on the courts, take their shots in the arms, and continue to excel on and off the court,” Mayor Domenic Sarno said.
The city of Springfield taking its shot at getting the younger population vaccinated.
On Saturday, the Health and Human Services Department, in partnership with Curative and American Medical Response held a Shot for Shot vaccine clinic at Forest Park.
The targeted age group is residents under 30.
“Last week 73 percent of the cases I received were under the age of 20,” Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris said.
The clinic offered all three vaccines and free COVID-19 testing.
Darryl Denson one of the organizers and former Central High School coach who partnered with the city said he saw the ongoing discussion to get hoops back in the city amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
His resolution is to let the community play basketball, but also talk about the impacts of a long-term lockdown.
“Mental health, self-care, and how kids respond to not having sports,” Denson said.
As a former basketball coach, he understands how close contact could fuel the spread of the virus and is urging all players to get vaccinated.
“They go to a gym, you get infected when you go to a gym and then you leave and go home and could affect one of your family members now what happens,” Denson explained.
In the meantime, players are excited to be back on the court.
“I feel like there's a lot of competition out here, everybody is going up and down the court and it feels good,” Springfield resident Jayson Green said.
The city will hold another clinic in four weeks for second doses.
“We’re excited the championship teams will come back play their final we will continue to vaccinate,” Caulton-Harris said.
Caulton-Harris said the city is holding more clinics to target that younger demographic.
"On July 31, we will be at Magazine Park, we will have food truck there, vaccinators there," Caulton-Harris said.