Dorchester vaccine clinic gave shots to ineligible residents for second day in a row

BOSTON (WHDH) - For the second day in a row, a Dorchester vaccine site gave shots to residents who weren’t eligible under state guidelines.

A long line wrapped around the Russell Auditorium as people learned that vaccines were being given out regardless of eligibility.

“I came here today with the hope of being able to be vaccinated,” said John Tran, who did not have an appointment.

The latest group cleared to receive the shot in Massachusetts are people 55 years and older or those with one qualifying medical condition; however, people visiting this clinic said all they had to do was prove they lived in Dorchester.

“They just asked if we had mail, ID, that we identify that we live in the Dorchester area, not a co-morbidity group and they gave us an appointment card and we sat down in the second section with an attendant and they gave us our vaccine,” explained Dan Gilligan.

Boston Medical Center, which runs the site, called the situation an error and said they would fix the issue moving forward.

In a statement, they said the site’s focus is to provide vaccine access to communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and that walk-ins are a part of that effort.

“Appointments are the preferred way to access appointment slots, and all pre-scheduled appointments are honored. In an effort to ensure ease of access to residents of Dorchester and surrounding communities, Russell is also able to honor walk-in vaccination requests on a limited basis,” the statement read. “Residents of these communities who are eligible for the vaccine per state guidelines will be prioritized for same-day availability. All other residents of the community will be assisted in scheduling future appointments.”

Gov. Charlie Baker said that he believes residents who got vaccinated at the clinic that were ineligible was an “honest mistake.”

“I don’t anticipate it will happen again, that they will follow the rules and play by them as everyone else who’s vaccinating people in Massachusetts should,” he said during a press conference Tuesday.

Not long after, people were turned away from the clinic who did not qualify.

“I’m under 55 and they said you’d have to do it through or your primary care,” Jessica Mason said.

Some residents who are eligible say they didn’t mind the mishap.

“It’s not the end of the world, you know, we’re trying to get the whole country vaccinated,” one man said.

Residents 16 years and older will become eligible to get vaccinated on April 19.

(Copyright (c) 2021 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)