DANVERS (CBS) - The state's fifth mass vaccination site -- and its first north of Boston -- opened Wednesday at the DoubleTree hotel in Danvers, and 84-year-old Anita Dion was relieved to get an appointment.
"I don't want to go to the hospital; I don't want to get sick. This is certainly the best option," said Dion. The first mass COVID-19 vaccination site north of Boston opened Wednesday at the DoubleTree hotel in Danvers.
The site being run by Curative, a coronavirus testing company, will be giving 500 shots of the Pfizer vaccine a day to start. The goal is to reach 3,000 a day. You do need to make an appointment. New appointments will be made available every Thursday.
"It's availability at the federal level about who gets vaccines, and the state level and then counties and hospitals figuring it out. Lots of people are coordinating and week by week it changes," said Isaac Turner, Curative CIO.
Availability has been a source of frustration for Governor Charlie Baker, who toured the mass vaccination site at Fenway Park on Wednesday. "I get there are people unhappy with the rollout. There are some reasons for the unhappiness which had to do with decisions we made out of the gate," said Baker.
Those decisions included putting healthcare workers and other high-risk groups at the top of the list. But the Governor pledges to have 165 vaccination sites, including at healthcare centers and pharmacies, open by the end of the month, and 120,000 additional appointments available this week and more every week.
"I'm not happy with where we are and a lot of other people aren't either. We have work to do and we know that," Baker said.
Massachusetts is trying to ramp up the process, with more than 650,000 residents already vaccinated. The state has also set up mass vaccination sites at Fenway Park, the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury, Gillette Stadium and the Eastfield Mall in Springfield. Two more sites are also planned but have not been announced yet.
In Danvers, there were high marks for a quick and orderly process, and for Fred Good, it felt like winning the lottery. "I know it's physical, but it's also mental. It's a bit of a relief."
Governor Baker says the state is getting supplies of the vaccine only on a week-by-week basis, which has made ramping up more challenging. He's urging patience to get appointments, saying "the vaccine isn't going anywhere." He said an additional call center to help people make appointments will start this week.
Massachusetts is currently in the early stages of Phase 2 of its vaccination program, where anyone 75 years and older is eligible for a vaccine.
Visit Mass.Gov/CovidVaccine to find out when you're eligible and to book an appointment.
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