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For Many In Massachusetts, Thanksgiving Preparations Include COVID Test

BOSTON (CBS) -- It's been a revolving door at some of the free COVID testing sites around Massachusetts, as a lot of people are seeking rapid responses before Thanksgiving.

"The last couple of days from Monday till now, our numbers have doubled, if not tripled," said Joelle Ataya, a COVID testing site manager.

Her testing site in Needham is seeing a constant crowd.

"The rush to get tested before Thanksgiving and to see family and grandparents and stuff has been insane," she said.

But families are thankful for this option. Because with the test comes peace of mind.

"I didn't want to pass anything that could be passed to them," said Jak Hallagan of Needham.

For some, it's the only thing getting them back home. One family that was visiting from Italy for the holiday has to be tested several times before they can go back.

"It's crazy because, imagine, we risk to lose the flight," one member of that family said.

The rush for testing is going hand in hand with the push to get entire families vaccinated.

"Now that the Pfizer vaccine is available to kids five and older, families are really eager and excited to get this done," said Dr. Scott Hadland, a pediatrician at MassGeneral Hospital for Children.

Hadland also noticed this week is especially busy for both tests and vaccine shots. He wants to remind families though that immunity from vaccines may not come right away, as it's usually two weeks from the second dose that immunity comes.

"Some of the rush we are seeing right now is really critical. Families should get their children and get themselves vaccinated, but unfortunately won't provide a lot of protection for this holiday," said Dr. Hadland. "Having said that, we've got other holidays on the horizon and this will provide protection for that."

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