Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday announced the tentative schedule for shutting down Massachusetts' seven mass COVID-19 vaccination sites, citing the state's high percentage of vaccinated residents.
With nearly 3.7 million residents fully vaccinated and over 4.3 million having received at least a first dose, Baker's office said it was time to shut down the mass vaccination sites and focus on "increasing targeted community-based vaccine efforts to reach remaining populations."
According to the Baker administration the sites will close on the following dates:
• 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
Each site remains open for walk-in vaccine appointments until their closing date.
Louisa Turner is one of the 1.7 million people who have been vaccinated at one of the seven mass sites in the state.
"I almost cried," said Turner. "I'm getting teary now just thinking about it, it's such a relief just to be able to feel like I'm safe again."
Turner says the new development is a sign that vaccine distribution is in a new stage.
"That, to me, tells me that people who want it and who are anxious to get it have done it, and now they just kind of need to reach the next level," said Turner.
There's plenty of supply — enough that President Joe Biden announced that tens of millions of doses will be donated around the world.
"We have actually have been hoarding the majority of the vaccine supply globally, and this is actually the time for the U.S. to play a leadership role internationally," said Dr. Sara Suliman, an infectious diseases immunologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital.
She says sharing the vaccine with struggling countries makes us all safer.
"The slower the vaccine rollout will be, the more dangerous variants will be emerging in other places in the world, which might actually compromise the vaccine efficacy," she said.
As for closing down the mass vaccination sites, Suliman says it's critical the state reaches the people most impacted by the virus.
"I like the idea of moving from these big vaccination sites into a more targeted approach and actually identifying who in the population hasn't been able to access these mass vaccination sites and why," she said.
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.