If you’re looking for the opportunity to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in the shadow of the New England Patriots’ six Super Bowl banners, now is your shot.
The mass vaccination site at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough began accepting walk-in patients over the weekend, as Massachusetts shifts its strategy to focus on immunizing the minority of residents who still haven’t gotten a dose. The news means that all seven of the state’s mass vaccination sites no longer require appointments.
Walk-in COVID-19 vaccine appointments are now accepted at Gillette Stadium!
— Gillette Stadium (@GilletteStadium) May 11, 2021
The state’s other six mass vaccination sites began accepting walk-ins on Monday, and Gillette Stadium had been conspicuously left out from the initial announcement. However, on Monday, state officials confirmed that the football stadium — and the state’s first mass vaccination site — had indeed also begun accepting walk-ins.
“Just because of the size … they felt they needed a little bit more time to make sure they had enough people at the front end in order to accept walk-ins,” Marylou Sudders, the state’s health and human services secretary, said Monday. “They actually started over the weekend, actually, people started to walk in, but it’s now official — walk in at all seven of our mass vaccination sites.”
CIC Health, which helps operate the Gillette Stadium vaccination site, as well as similar sites at the Hynes Convention Center and Reggie Lewis Center, says that “thousands of walk in slots and appointments” are available each week, with no ID or health insurance required. CIC Health and Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration have also partnered with Lyft to offer free rides of up to $30 to and from the company’s vaccination sites. Individuals can text “free ride” to 833-460-2202 and get a code for up to four rides to be used to get two and from their first- and second-dose appointments.
“By offering walk-ins, and free transportation to help people travel to our sites, we are ensuring that everyone who wants a vaccine will be able to,” Rodrigo Martinez, the chief marketing and experience officer for CIC Health, said in a statement Tuesday.
With more than 70 percent of eligible adults at least partially vaccinated, the Baker administration is planning to gradually close four mass vaccination sites, including the Gillette Stadium one, by the end of June, in order to shift doses to local providers. Many retail pharmacies are also offering walk-in appointments. And with the Pfizer vaccine now approved for individuals as young as 12, Baker says he expects the new phase of the vaccine rollout to be characterized by walk-in vaccinations and pop-up clinics.
“You’ll see some in schools,” he said Monday. “You’ll see some in supermarket parking lots. You’ll see them in a variety of different places. And they’re going to be based on this idea that you really want to catch people where they might be.”