SPRINGFIELD — Lamont Scott is on a mission. As project director at Men of Color Health Awareness, he and his team have been fighting coronavirus fatigue, insurance bureaucracy and mistrust of doctors to get the word out to the community about the importance of vaccinations for Springfield’s men of color.

MOCHA has hosted several informational sessions about vaccines that protect against COVID-19, the flu and respiratory syncytial virus, commonly known as RSV. The events, the next of which will take place in March, are organized at such locations as churches, high-rise apartments, senior facilities and Tower Square. After a presentation, organizers help people with paperwork and navigating health insurance requirements. RSV immunizations are provided in partnership with Springfield Pharmacy, while vaccines for the flu and COVID-19 are available through Holyoke-based Cataldo Ambulance.

“Attendance has been good,” Scott said, but it is down from a high prior to the holidays when people planned to spend time with family and friends.

“Whether we get one person to come out … we just want people to know [vaccines] are out there,” Scott said. “The more knowledge, there’s more strength and understanding in the community.” Scott said MOCHA will arrange to bring the information and services to those who cannot physically come to the public sessions.

“I think people get a misconception [about vaccines],” Scott said. “Especially with COVID, they think, ‘Why do I have to get another shot? I did this when COVID first started.’ COVID is not like other immunizations that you get once, and it lasts forever.” He said the COVID-19 variant that is currently circulating is different from the strain that the original vaccine protected against, so, “People got to get the [latest] dose of the vaccine. We try to make it plain and simple.”

Recently, MOCHA hosted Dr. Wilmore Webley, a microbiology professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, who spoke about vaccines and disease at Independence House, an apartment building in Springfield. Scott said the session was “very educational.” MOCHA works with Webley and other medical professionals to educate people about the value of vaccines. Scott said information is better received when it comes from a member of the Black community and Pan-African diaspora.

Scott said there are differences between how white men and Black men feel about vaccines.

“They remember Tuskegee,” he said, referring to the “USPHS Untreated Syphilis Study at Tuskegee,” in which 600 Black men in Alabama, two-thirds of whom had syphilis, were studied without informed consent. Rather than being told of their diagnosis, the men understood they were being treated for “bad blood.” Despite penicillin being available in the 1940s, the people in the study were not offered treatment.

Because of historic incidents such as this, there is a generational mistrust of doctors and vaccines among many in the Black community. Scott said MOCHA hosts experts that “people can trust. We make sure we’re getting them the most accurate information.”

He continued, “It’s important to trust your doctor and have a relationship,” not just for vaccinations, but to help monitor and treat high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer, all of which are more prevalent in people of color, according to the National Centers for Disease Control.

Scott is, himself, a cancer survivor and said he became involved as a volunteer with MOCHA when it was first established in 2014, to help others in need of information and health resources.

MOCHA, which also partners with Baystate Health Center, Mercy Hospital and the Springfield Black COVID Coalition, is funded through state and federal grants, including one for which Scott is applying, that examines trust in medical professionals.

For more information about MOCHA, visit mochaspringfield.org.