New mass vaccination site opens in Dartmouth

Coronavirus

DARTMOUTH, Mass. (WPRI) — The first mass vaccination site in Southeastern Massachusetts opened Wednesday morning in Dartmouth.

The site began administering shots at 11 a.m. at the old Circuit City off of Route 6, located near the Dartmouth Mall.

The company running this site, Curative, said they have two goals: managing doses and customer experience.

“Our goal is to minimize their total time on the site, so we can maximize the experience that they have and get them out the door with their second dose appointment in hand, so they come back wanting to be a part of this process again,” director of operations Blake Lackey said.

Appointments at the Dartmouth site were all booked shortly after they became available on Feb. 18, with 300 shots scheduled for Wednesday.

Sign up for a vaccination appointment in Massachusetts here »

At first, the site will have the capacity to administer around 500 doses of the Pfizer vaccine per day. The goal is to increase that to 2,000 doses a day in the coming weeks, and in the meantime, Gov. Charlie Baker is asking for patience.

“When you have a million people who are eligible to get a vaccine and you only get 130,000 first-dose vaccines each week, that creates anxiety,” he said. “Be patient. Everyone is going to get vaccinated, but not everyone can get vaccinated at once because we don’t have enough supply.”

Baker said roughly 50,000 new appointments will be added at mass vaccination sites across the state, including the one in Dartmouth.

“Appointments will obviously be booked quickly,” he added.

The state also added a “digital waiting room” feature to its vaccination appointment website, after experiencing issues with heavy traffic last week.

“If there is high travel and traffic on the website, some users might be placed in the waiting room,” Baker explained. “The page will display more information about when you will be allowed to proceed, but it’s basically the equivalent of creating a line.”

The governor added that while they currently get approximately 450,000 requests each week for first-dose appointments, they only receive about 130,000 from the federal government.

“We expect the total number of doses administered to be about the same next week, maybe a few more,” he said.

If the state doesn’t see an increase in vaccine supply from the federal government, Baker said it will probably take about a month for everybody currently eligible to get an appointment.

Retail pharmacies are also expected to administer 20,000 doses next week, the governor added.

CVS locations in Fall River and New Bedford, Walgreens in Fairhaven, the Stop and Shop in Fall River, and Bristol Community College are a few other options in the area to get the vaccine.

Mass. Department of Public Health reported 1,788 newly confirmed coronavirus cases Wednesday, and an that an additional 60 people have died after contracting the virus.

The data also shows 875 people remain hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state, with 219 in the intensive care unit and 151 on ventilators.

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