The doors of Gillette Stadium open Friday to first responders in a soft launch of the state's first mass vaccination site.
Gov. Charlie Baker announced that Massachusetts had finalized plans for the large-scale site at Gillette Tuesday, just days after the state was moved into the "severe outbreak" category by a national data tracker.
The home stadium of the New England Patriots and Revolution opened Thursday to provide the first doses of the vaccine for staff doing first responder vaccinations.
“Whether it’s Kenny Chesney, the Patriots, the Revolution or vaccines, I think the mission is the same," Chief Michael Kelleher of the Foxboro Fire Department said.
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Meanwhile, the Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin is suggesting using polling places in upcoming local elections as a way to speed up that state's coronavirus vaccine distribution plan.
Galvin sent a letter to Baker Thursday suggesting that a pilot program this March could test whether it makes sense to give the vaccine to people who are eligible to get the shot "in a nearby and convenient location, after casting their ballot."
The site at Gillette officially opens Monday under plans to start with 300 vaccines a day, Baker said, but is expected to eventually build up to 5,000 doses a day.
Thousands of police officers, firefighters and other first responders in the state began receiving their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine Monday. About 60 sites have been set up around the state to vaccinate an estimated 45,000 people.
"I want to thank all of the first responders who have already received the vaccine. Obviously, getting the vaccine protects not only you but also your family and all the folks in the community you come into contact with," Baker said. "The challenge, we hope, will be keeping up with the demand."
So far, the governor said over 470,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been distributed to providers and nearly 210,000 doses have been administered in Massachusetts. About 32,000 people have gotten both shots, according to the Department of Public Health's weekly vaccine dashboard.
Fenway Park told NBC10 Boston Tuesday night it is working with the state to become a vaccination center, as well.
Nearly two-thirds of Massachusetts' communities are at the highest risk of coronavirus transmission, state health data released Thursday shows.
The town-by-town coronavirus risk data -- which classifies communities' risk level on a scale from red, the highest, to grey -- puts a record 229 cities and towns in the red zone, up from 219 last week. That's just shy of two-thirds of all the communities in Massachusetts.