New COVID vaccination sites open in Massachusetts

COVID-19 virus depiction.

Last week, two new, large-scale COVID-19 vaccination sites opened in Massachusetts. The sites are located in Natick and Dartmouth. 

Gov. Charlie Baker announced the new vaccination sites on Wednesday, Feb. 10. The Natick site was opened on Monday, Feb. 22, and the Dartmouth site was opened on Wednesday, Feb. 24. 

Four other mass vaccination sites are already up and running in the state. These sites are at Fenway Park in Boston, Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, the Eastfield Mall in Springfield, and the DoubleTree Hotel in Danvers.

The Natick vaccination site has opened in an old Sears store in the Natick Mall. The site is served by LabCorp, and officials are starting with a goal of administering 100 doses of the vaccine a day. Ultimately, the objective is to administer 5,000 shots a day by mid-March, according to NBC Boston. However, AP and wbur both report that the site was supposed to begin by administering 500 doses daily, and eventually work their way up to 3,000 shots per day in the coming weeks. 

Appointments are required to receive a vaccine at the Natick Mall site. According to LabCorp spokeswoman Heather Provino, those with appointments are being asked to wait in their cars or outside the entrance ten minutes before their appointment. After entering, individuals will go through registration, and following that, will find themselves in a “nice, seated waiting area,” according to Provino. The Natick Mall site is using a number system as well.

The Dartmouth site is operating inside a former Circuit City store located at 456 State Road. The site is being run by Curative Inc., and is set to begin by administering 500 doses of the shot each day. ABC6 reports that the site is looking to increase to 3,000 shots daily, however, AP and wbur report the site’s goal as an increase to 2,000 shots per day. Appointments were completely booked through March 10 as of Feb. 23.

A large-scale vaccination site opened in Worcester on Tuesday, Feb. 16 as well. The site is at Worcester State University, and it was made possible via collaboration by St. Vincent’s Hospital and Commonwealth Medicine. Right now, the site is planning to vaccinate 500 people a day, and it is ramping up to about 2,000 shots a day, according to Boston 25 News.

The site is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, and about 1,700 people have volunteered to work at this site. 

As of now, people in the Phase One and Two priority groups are eligible to receive the vaccine. These individuals include people aged 65 and older, people with two or more qualifying medical conditions, health care workers, first responders, low income and affordable senior housing residents and staff, long-term care settings and congregate care settings. 

In Phase Two, people 16 and over who have two or more of the following conditions are also eligible: moderate to severe asthma, cancer, down syndrome, heart conditions, immunocompromised state, pregnancy, smoking, and more. 

For Phase Two, Groups Three and Four are not eligible to receive the vaccine yet. These groups include workers in the fields of education, transit, grocery stores, utilities, food, sanitation, public works, and more.  Phase Two is expected to last through March, while Phase Three, which includes the rest of the general public, is expected to start in April. 

As of Sunday, Feb. 21, almost 15 percent of people in Massachusetts had received the first dose of the COVID vaccine, while 5.6 percent were fully vaccinated, according to wbur. 

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