BARNSTABLE, MASS. (WHDH) - The first large-scale coronavirus vaccination site on Cape Cod began administering doses of the vaccine to local residents on Tuesday morning.

About 600 doses of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be given out at the site at Cape Cod Community College in Barnstable throughout the day.

Officials at the vaccination site plan to administer 600 more doses on Thursday.

In addition to the two-dose Moderna and Pfizer shots, State Sen. Julian Cyr believes the J&J vaccine option is a critical tool that will help health officials immunize the region’s most vulnerable and hard-to-reach residents.

“We now have a third and crucial tool in our vaccination tool kit,” Cyr said.

Cyr added that the “safe and effective” J&J vaccine represents a “profoundly encouraging development.”

Local lawmakers had been asking for a large vaccination site on the Cape for months.

The launch of the site comes a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that fully vaccinated Americans can gather with other vaccinated people indoors without wearing a mask or social distancing.

Katie Taylor, a pharmacy technician on the Cape, says she hasn’t seen her par parents in a year due to the ongoing pandemic.

“My parents just got vaccinated, my fiancée, his parents just got vaccinated,” Taylor said. “I have not seen them in over a year. So, it’s exciting now. Finally, something to look forward to.”

Dr. Shira Doron, infections disease chief at Tufts Medical Center, noted that it’s “very safe” for fully vaccinated people to get together.

“Even if there is so asymptomatic transmission going on, no one is likely to end up in the hospital or dead,” Doron explained.

J&J’s doses are easier to transport because they can be stored at a comparably higher temperature, between 36 degrees and 46 degrees.

Eligible residents must make an appointment to get vaccinated at the Cape site.

People with appointments are urged to show up no sooner than 15 minutes prior to their allotted time.

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