COVID-19 Mass Vaccine Site to Open at Old Circuit City in Dartmouth
Senator Mark Montigny announced today that a mass COVID-19 vaccination site will be established in the New Bedford region and that it will be located at the former Circuit City building at 422 State Road in Dartmouth.
The site will be capable of administering 500 shots per day to start, then scale to deliver 2,000 shots per day as the supply from the federal government increases, according to the Baker administration. The site is set to open on Feb. 22, and all vaccinations will be free of charge.
"I've heard from many constituents completely frustrated by the current maze of online booking procedures and lack of available locations in our community," said Montigny. "I've been equally as frustrated and hope that this news brings some relief to worried residents and their families."
Governor Charlie Baker announced the news today while touring a mass vaccination site in Danvers. He added a new twist - now trusted caregivers who accompany a person 75 or older to their vaccination appointment will be able to get the shot themselves.
Montigny told WBSM News that he suggested the Circuit City site to the Baker administration because it provides a large indoor area, plenty of parking, easy access from the highway, and a property owner willing to engage in a short-term lease.
The Democratic state senator thanked the Baker administration for working with his office but said establishing the site was not easy. Montigny said he's been in touch with Boston on a daily basis. The advocacy included extensive talks with Health and Human Services Secretary Mary Lou Sudders, and negotiations with private property owners. The effort initially yielded false starts, including the identification of sites in New Bedford that either fell through or did not meet the necessary criteria.
Speaking to WBSM's Christ McCarthy, Montigny expressed a combination of relief and frustration, suggesting that the South Coast region often has to fight to get attention from state leadership.
"It's ridiculous to ask people from the New Bedford area to drive to Gillette Stadium (in Foxboro) or Fenway Park (in Boston) to get the shot," Montigny said. "While this is good news, I hesitate to celebrate because this should have been in place weeks ago."
Montigny noted that he previously had to lobby the Baker administration to maintain free, neighborhood-based testing in New Bedford through the Stop the Spread program.
Once the site is up and running, appointments can be made through https://www.maimmunizations.org/ or by dialing 2-1-1 via phone. The site is scheduled to open on February 22nd.