First doses of coronavirus vaccine to be administered at Gillette Stadium

FOXBOROUGH, MASS. (WHDH) - Gillette Stadium in Foxborough has transformed into Massachusetts’ first mass COVID-19 vaccination site.

The first doses at the stadium will be given to site staffers Thursday, Gov. Charlie Baker announced. First responders and those living and working in congregate care settings will be able to get vaccinated at Gillette starting Monday.

“We’ve had some outbreaks that have been pretty dramatic and again, it moves and it moves fast when you’re in a congregate care facility. That’s just a fact,” Baker said Wednesday during a press conference.

Roughly 94,000 people within congregate care settings, including group homes, shelters, residential treatment programs, and correctional facilities, will begin the vaccination process Monday.

This means the vaccine will be offered to inmates before the elderly and people with serious pre-existing health problems.

“All the data and all the evidence makes pretty clear that congregate care settings are at-risk communities, no matter how you define them,” Baker said.

He rejected a suggestion that correction officers and other staff working in prisons be offered the vaccine but not the inmates.

Baker added that inmates have visitors and that can spread the virus too.

“I don’t think you can draw a bright line that says you’re only going to vaccinate one-half of a population and not the other when in fact, there are other people who do come in and out,” he said.

Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders also says the vaccine will be going to a new at-risk group at the beginning of phase two of the vaccination place.

“And that is public and private low-income and affordable senior housing are now prioritized in phase two, group one,” she said.

In the meantime, Gillette Stadium will start out by providing 300 vaccines per day but Baker says it will eventually have the capacity to administer more than 5,000 doses per day and “potentially much bigger numbers than that over time.”

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