Gillette Stadium hosts state’s 1st mass vaccination site

BOSTON — The first mass COVID-19 vaccination facility in Massachusetts opened Friday at the home of the New England Patriots on a limited basis before its official launch next week.

On Friday, Boston-25 News got a tour of the vaccination setup inside the Putnam Club.

A limited number of first responders and medical professionals were able to get the first shot during a soft open of the facility.

Beginning at the entrance and throughout the second floor, QR codes were posted throughout so first responders will be able to scan them and follow step-by-step instructions while inside.

“The apps automated everything, it was a pretty seamless transition,” said Foxborough Fire Chief Michael Kelleher. “It was a great experience. The shot didn’t hurt that bad, it was no worse than the flu shot.”

Amber Lemiere, a nurse at a Boston primary care office said she was grateful to get her shot of the Moderna vaccine.

“I’m grateful to get my first dose. I’ll be even more grateful to get my second dose and be fully vaccinated. The sooner we can get everybody vaccinated, the sooner we can get everybody back to some semblance of normalcy.”

Officials with CIC Health said opening the site is a milestone for the state. “I think we’ve shared tears of joy,” said Rachel Wilson, Chief Operations Officer of CIC Health. “We are so excited for what this means for residents of the Commonwealth and getting people back to their everyday lives.”

Inside the vaccination room, there were several stations setup for first responders to get the vaccine, and a separate section for those who have a history of allergic reactions.

A spokesperson for CIC Health said they have 2 teams of paramedics and EMT’s on standby, in case of any poor reactions.

Dr. Chris Kaufman, vaccine coordinator for CIC Health said he was in charge of making sure the Moderna vaccine was stored properly.

“The night before the vaccinations start, I basically take the allocated amount for the next day out of the freezer, put it into a refrigerator where the vaccine thaws overnight,” he said. “Once the vaccine is basically drawn up, it has to be used within 6 hours and we will do our upmost to not waste any single dose. Vaccines don’t save lives, vaccinations do.”

The goal is to start vaccinating about 300 people per day starting Monday, eventually working up to administering thousands per day, CIC said in a statement. Vaccinations will be by appointment.

Before leaving, officials said they will urge first responders to sign up for their second shot.

The facility is open from 9-5 p.m. on Monday, but officials added that they hope to eventually expand hours from 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

Those eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine can register here.

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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