The group charged with managing the state’s first large-scale COVID-19 vaccination site was formed about six months ago, and it is a company with roots and expertise in operating co-working and testing sites, not poking people in the arm.
CIC Health, a Cambridge technology company, has been tapped by the state to manage vaccine administration at Gillette Stadium, which will first offer the COVID-19 vaccine from a fellow Cambridge firm, Moderna. Governor Charlie Baker has said this location, which had a soft launch on Thursday, could vaccinate up to 5,000 people per day once it’s in full swing.
The news underscores how the Boston-area business community has pivoted to play a prominent role in the state’s pandemic recovery.
CIC Health is a subsidiary of the Cambridge Innovation Center, a co-working company founded and led by Tim Rowe. He helped launch CIC Health over the summer, focused initially on coronavirus testing. The well-known surgeon and writer Atul Gawande is listed on the company’s website as a cofounder.
In May, Gawande left his post as chief executive of the health care venture Haven, a company formed by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. that recently announced it would shut down next month. Gawande also founded a Boston health research nonprofit, Ariadne Labs. (Another company formed out of CIC Health to streamline the testing operation, called the Assurance Testing Alliance, was launched by both CIC Health and Ariadne Labs.)
CIC Health has since expanded to become a vaccination administration service, and it is preparing to debut an online appointment scheduling platform Thursday. The scheduling protocols at the other 11 vaccination sites across the state, open for those eligible to receive a shot, vary from Google forms to a central phone number.
“We are excited to apply the lessons learned in testing to the vaccine rollout process,” said Rowe, the chief executive of CIC Health, in a press release. “Testing and vaccination go hand-in-hand in the battle to minimize virus spread.”
Today is the day we open our first mass #COVID19vaccination site at @GilletteStadium.— CIC Health (@CIC_Health) January 14, 2021
Our CEO & founder @rowe, @Atul_Gawande, COO Rachel Wilson, CMO @RodrigoATCG, & @vgidwaney take a 📸 with the first #FirstResponder to receive his vaccine. A moment to remember. #ThisIsOurShot pic.twitter.com/pvUnbNfyGY
Several other business leaders are involved in the CIC Health effort, including the company’s chief operating officer, Rachel Wilson, who previously served as chief operating officer of Atrius Health, and entrepreneur Rodrigo Martinez, the company’s chief marketing and experience officer.
According to a press release about the vaccination effort at Gillette, CIC Health has contracted with several groups to help coordinate the program it is in charge of.
Fallon Ambulance, a longtime medical service provider at Gillette Stadium, will prepare and administer the vaccines. Mass General Brigham will provide “medical oversight,” the event management company DMSE Sports will offer onsite “vaccine operations and logistics management,” and the clinician network PWN Health will provide “remote customer support.” (PWN is also part of CIC’s Assurance Testing Alliance.)
Gillette Stadium is providing parking spaces and staff to manage the flow of people entering and exiting the stadium.
“Gillette Stadium is accustomed to accommodating large audiences and we are honored to provide a safe location to expedite the vaccination of first responders, and to soon expand to residents throughout the Commonwealth,” Jim Nolan, chief operating officer of Gillette Stadium, said in a press release.
Stacey James, a spokesperson for the New England Patriots, said shots will be given in the Putnam Club, a 40,000 square-foot space in the stadium.
People will take an escalator to the club level, where they will register and then head to another area for the actual shot. Before they leave, James said, there will be a 15-minute “cool-down” period during which people will be monitored for any adverse symptoms.
The site’s official launch date is Jan. 18, when first responders and health care workers can begin getting vaccinated.