Boston Herald

Gillette vax site shuts down

After 6 months, 610,000 patients

- By Meghan OttOlini

Health care workers gave out the last jabs at Gillette Stadium Monday, closing down the state’s first and largest vaccinatio­n site after nearly six months of operation.

“I don’t think there’s any words that can convey how special it is to be part of something that saves lives,” said Rachel Wilson, president of CIC Health. “To actually be part of the solution has been so humbling.”

CIC Health first opened the Gillette Stadium site with partners Jan. 18, focused on vaccinatin­g health care workers and first responders against COVID-19. Since then, more than 610,000 people have received shots at the stadium.

“Massachuse­tts rocked it. Of the big states in the entire country, Massachuse­tts had the fastest rollout of the vaccine program,” said Tim Roe, CIC Health co-founder.

Gillette is one of seven sites that will close down their vaccinatio­n services over the next month — closures Bay Staters can hail as a positive swing back toward normalcy.

More than 3.9 million people in Massachuse­tts are fully vaccinated, but about 20% remain unprotecte­d against COVID-19 and its emerging variants.

CIC sites had been operating on a walk-in basis to the general public for several weeks before Monday’s closure at Gillette. Several people came in before the 6 p.m. cutoff to receive first or second doses of the vaccine.

Maria Morataya had an appointmen­t to receive her second shot, but she didn’t know she was showing up on a momentous evening.

“It’s closing? I didn’t even know that. But it feels good — I’m just in time,” she said.

Morataya said she waited a little bit longer than some others to get vaccinated because she had COVID-19 back in December, and she was worried she would suffer bad side effects. She received her second shot Monday, adding she’s excited to go out fresh-faced again.

“Getting the masks off, definitely” factored into her scheduling her appointmen­ts, she said.

For others like Channelle Walker, visits with loved ones on their summer calendars motivated them to get out.

“I’ve been working from home but I plan to visit my grandmothe­r, so I have to take care of me, take care of her, take care of everybody else,” she said.

Walker got her first shot Monday at Gillette, but she and others who are only partially vaccinated can go to any number of sites to get their second doses — including grocery stores and pharmacy chains.

Although CIC Health is shutting down major vaccinatio­n sites across the state, the company is launching a “Vax Express” system that will offer shots at train stations across the Commonweal­th.

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 ?? Nancy lane pHoTos / Herald sTaff ?? CLOSING DAY: Alice Kobres gets the last vaccinatio­n at Gillette Stadium on Monday in Foxboro. At right, Channelle Walker receives one of the last shots at the nowclosed mass vax site.
Nancy lane pHoTos / Herald sTaff CLOSING DAY: Alice Kobres gets the last vaccinatio­n at Gillette Stadium on Monday in Foxboro. At right, Channelle Walker receives one of the last shots at the nowclosed mass vax site.

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