Dartmouth Mass Vaccination Site Closes as Campaign Takes a More Targeted Approach
In Dartmouth, the state’s last remaining mass vaccination site ended its 7-day-a-week operation on Tuesday.
Health workers at the site, located in a vacant Circuit City store, administered more than 76,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine since February. During the peak of its operation in April, workers doled out more than 1,400 shots per day. In recent weeks, that number has dwindled to fewer than 50.
The closing marks a turning point in the vaccination campaign, according to Karyn Rossacci, who managed the Dartmouth site for state-contractor Curative Massachusetts. She says the company will shift focus toward providing mobile clinics, to ease access and reach those who may be hesitant to get the shot. “When you see it in your own setting,” said Rossacci, “maybe in your neighborhood or at your local festival or housing area, people might be more likely to go to that because it's comfortable.”
Curative will use the Circuit City location as a base of operations for its mobile clinics.
Reflecting on her experience at the site, Rossacci said the highlight for her was the weekend when children aged 12-15 became eligible for the vaccine. “There were kids here who just couldn't wait to get vaccinated so they can get back to sports, their friends, taking off their masks,” she said. “They saw it as their ticket to getting a little bit of normalcy that they've been craving.”
In Bristol County, where the Dartmouth site was located, just half of residents are fully vaccinated as of last Thursday. That’s the second lowest rate among Massachusetts’ 14 counties—only Hampden County is lower.
The state’s COVID-19 vaccine website has instructions for how to receive a free shot. ID and insurance are not required. Those who have gotten the vaccine can enter to win $1 million or a college scholarship through the state’s VaxMillions Giveaway.