The state's first mass vaccination site at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, shut down Monday, as the state prepares to shift its vaccination strategy.
With nearly four million Bay State residents fully vaccinated against the virus as of Sunday, the state is shutting down the state's seven mass vaccination sites one by one, and focusing on what Gov. Charlie Baker calls "increasing targeted community-based vaccine efforts to reach remaining populations."
Massachusetts health officials reported no new coronavirus deaths on Sunday for only the fourth time since deaths were first reported during the pandemic in the commonwealth. The last time the state had a rare no deaths day was on May 11, according to Massachusetts Department of Public Health records.
The DPH also reported 33 new COVID cases on Sunday, which is the lowest single-day case count since March 12, 2020 — the earliest days of the pandemic. There were 44 new cases Monday.
For many, the Gillette site shutting down is just another sign that we're reaching the end of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It definitely feels like things are winding down," said Samantha Drumm, who was vaccinated at Gillette Stadium. "I just went grocery shopping, my mask was off.”
“I think it’s almost back to normal," said Scott Marcus, who worked at the vaccination site.
The Gillette site will administer its last vaccine on Monday, followed by the site at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston about a week later. The remaining sites across Massachusetts will continue to close throughout the rest of the month and into mid-July.
According to the Baker administration, each site will remain open for walk-in vaccine appointments until their closing date:
• Gillette Stadium: June 14
• Hynes Convention Center: June 22
• Natick Mall: June 23
• Reggie Lewis Center in Boston: June 27
• Doubletree in Danvers: June 30
• Eastfield Mall in Springfield: July 6
• Former Circuit City in Dartmouth: July 13
Dr. Michael Misialek, who is associate chair of pathology at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, says it’s definitely a turning point.
"It would signify that we’re nearing a major goal that was set by the governor,” he said.
Baker's goal was to fully vaccinate 4.1 million people by early June. That did not happen, however. Health officials reported that 3,962,956 Bay State residents had been fully vaccinated as of Sunday.
Misialek says the state should finally hit that 4.1 million mark sometime this week, which is why he says the next step — focusing on serving the 20 hardest-hit cities and towns — makes a lot of sense.
“We really need to target at the community level, go community by community throughout the state and try to get as many people vaccinated as possible,” Misialek said.
Baker is also ending the state of emergency on Tuesday.
Last month, the state shut down its preregistration system for vaccination appointments.
The COVID-19 Vaccine Finder at vaxfinder.mass.gov remains available, with over 900 locations listed across the state. There, people will be able to find information about no wait, walk-up appointments at select locations, accessibility information, and can plan for their appointment using the MBTA trip planner tool.
The Baker administration has expanded the state’s Homebound Vaccination Program to support in-home vaccinations.
The Homebound program is primarily using Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Pfizer vaccines are available for 12-17 years old who are homebound and would need significant support to leave the home to get to a medical appointment.