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Barnstable County’s Vaira Harik is Named Commonwealth Heroine by Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women

June 4, 2021 (Barnstable, MA) – Barnstable County is pleased to announce that Vaira Harik, Deputy Director of the Department of Human Services, was selected as a 2021 Commonwealth Heroine by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women.

The Commonwealth Heroine Award honors extraordinary women from across the Commonwealth who perform unheralded acts daily to make our homes, neighborhoods, cities, and towns better places to live.

Throughout the pandemic, Ms. Harik has served as Barnstable County’s epidemiologist, providing daily regional COVID-19 statistics and explaining the epidemiological facts that underlie transmission. She has served as a member of the Cape Cod COVID-19 Response Task Force (formerly the Cape Cod Reopening Task Force) and reported to the media weekly since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Barnstable County Administrator Elizabeth Albert said, “Vaira’s public health training and the role she played as the regional epidemiologist has been invaluable to the Cape and Islands in responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Her daily updates provided critical and up-to-date surveillance information, which has been an essential component of our regional response. Her efforts have been outstanding.”

Harik was nominated for this recognition by State Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro). Senator Cyr said, “Vaira Harik was the courage of Cape Cod’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Whenever she was asked through this crisis about how we should proceed, her response was never rooted in what was popular or what was easy; it was grounded in science and public health. I have no doubt her meticulous health surveillance and forceful conviction saved lives, and I was honored to submit her name as a 2021 Commonwealth Heroine.”

Regarding Senator Cyr’s nomination, Harik said, “Senator Cyr has been among our standout leaders during the County’s COVID pandemic response, so it doesn’t surprise me that his nomination for this honor is in this channel. I’m very humbled that he would nominate me for this honor, given that Cape Cod’s response has had the contributions of so many exceptional and dedicated colleagues. I’m grateful to be able to be of service.”

The Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women will be virtually celebrating the eighteenth-annual Commonwealth Heroines Class of 2021. MCSW will be hosting Commonwealth Heroines and Legislators in a zoom presentation that will provide opening remarks and a slideshow presentation of the Class of 2021. MCSW will be streaming this celebration “Live” on their Facebook page at noon on Wednesday, June 23, 2021.

About the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women:

The MCSW is an independent state agency that was legislatively created in 1998 to advance women of the Commonwealth to full equality in all areas of life and to promote their rights and opportunities. The Commission provides a voice for Massachusetts women and is comprised of 19 members who are appointed by the Governor, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Caucus of Women Legislators.

About Barnstable County Regional Government of Cape Cod:  Barnstable County is one of the last functioning counties in Massachusetts, with departments serving the 15 towns of Cape Cod. Barnstable County government consists of a legislative branch (Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates) and an executive branch (Barnstable County Commissioners). Learn more at