It’s a booster boom as holidays begin

Bookings a state sites stretch well into December

LOWELL, Mass. — The state’s Vaxfinder website said the Lowell Booster vaccination site had zero availability Monday. And that information was correct.

The Lowell site was closed. Which was a surprise to Dan Hyde, who first thought he’d get a booster late last week -- until he saw the parking lot and line.

“The line came out the front door and down to the parking area here,” he said.

The parking area Monday was a vast expanse of asphalt -- save for Dan’s Cadillac and a couple of other vehicles, including one carrying a couple who also hoped to get a booster Monday.

“We didn’t think they were gonna be closed today,” one said.

A reasonable presumption -- given it’s just three days before the first big ‘family gathering’ holiday when presumably thousands of Massachusetts residents will be traveling. Plus, there’s ample reason to keep an injection site open in Lowell, where Covid cases more than doubled over the weekend from 71 last Friday to 165.

But Sundays and Mondays the Lowell site is normally closed.

And the same is true for the state-sponsored site in Brockton.

The Danvers site, however, was open and very busy.

Aaron and Cair Keebaugh were among those who got booster shots in Danvers at North Shore Community College. It was easy to book, they said.

“This one was right online,” Aaron said. “What did it take us a day or so to get it?”

“On not even,” said Cari. I put up the website and they said they’re like a hundred appointments open today.”

There are no appointments in Danvers for boosters, according to Vaxfinder, for the next two weeks. But Sheli Denman was able to get a dose as a walk-in.

“Right now it looked like they were booking out to the 29th, but I couldn’t get the tool to work,” she said. “So they had an extra dose. So they just took me.”

Dan Hyde is hoping for the same luck in Lowell on Tuesday, though he’s in no huge hurry to get the booster. “It’s just turned six months for me,” he said.

According to Vaxfinder, Hyde may have to wait nearly three weeks for the extra shot. The Lowell site has no slots available until December 9th -- and just one remains that day as of Monday evening.