A long line unexpectedly snaked around a mass COVID-19 vaccination site at the DoubleTree Hotel in Danvers on Wednesday afternoon after word spread that there were extra doses of the vaccine available.
Curative, the company operating the site, didn’t want the additional doses to go to waste, so workers “offered patients who were already registered with appointments later in the week to come to the Danvers location to receive their dose today,” Miranda Gottlieb, a Curative spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.
“The interest and high demand from patients to move their appointment time and receive their dose today did create a line outside of the site,” Gottlieb said. She did not immediately respond to an e-mail asking why there were multiple extra doses available Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, Governor Charlie Baker visited the Danvers hotel where he announced that any caregiver accompanying a 75-year-old person getting vaccinated at a state site could also get a vaccination.
In the afternoon, as dozens of people arrived in hopes of getting vaccinated there, workers formed two lines, one for those with Wednesday appointments and one for those who had future appointments, according to Gottlieb. She said those with Wednesday appointments were not forced to endure long waits.
“New operational protocols were put in place to accommodate more patients inside of the DoubleTree as well as requesting patients to remain in their cars until their new appointment time,” after the lines formed, Gottlieb said.
A spokeswoman for the state’s COVID-19 Command Center did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Lucie Consentino, 84, of Peabody, was at the hotel for an early afternoon vaccination appointment when a worker told those waiting that extra doses were available and they could call family and friends to come and get vaccinated if they arrived by 4 p.m., regardless of age, she said.
“It’s just crazy how it turned out, because when they made that announcement, I had no problem believing it because we’ve heard how some vaccines have been thrown away,” Consentino said in a phone interview.
After receiving her vaccine, Consentino called her two daughters and several friends, she said.
Soon the lines began to form. But around 3 p.m., a worker said everyone without an appointment should go home, according to Rebecca Hains, one of Consentino’s daughters.
“It was an abrupt change because their prior communication was that everyone in line should wait patiently and that they’d take the rest of the people without appointments beginning at 6 p.m.,” Hains, said.
Consentino said two of her friends came in hopes of being vaccinated but were ultimately sent home. A third friend left on her way to the site, after seeing “a line of cars way out to the highway,” she said.
State officials had said at the briefing in Danvers earlier Wednesday that they plan to open mass vaccination sites in Natick, west of Boston, and the southeastern Massachusetts town of Dartmouth in the coming weeks. Those sites will eventually boost the number of state-run mass injection sites to seven.
Baker said the states “that have done the best job at getting shots into people’s arms are the states that have big sites,” when asked about the opening of the new mass vaccination sites coming on line.
“I think for us, with the limited amount of doses we have, and the incredible pressure to get as many doses into people’s arms” as fast as possible, Baker said, “what has proven to be most successful in most other places [around] the country is to use very big sites to [inoculate] big numbers, and then to build collaboratives in places where you don’t have big population centers, which is why we have a collaborative in Berkshire County, a collaborative in Worcester County, a collaborative in Barnstable County, and a collaborative in Franklin County. That is, in many respects, the fastest and best way to move administration forward with a limited supply of vaccine.”
Officials also said that on Thursday, 74,000 new appointments will be posted for the state’s mass vaccination sites and CVS and Walgreens retail pharmacies. About 30,000 other appointments will be posted during the week at retail pharmacy outlets.
“At this point, nearly a million doses have been administered here in Massachusetts,” Baker said. “And over the past few days, there were thousands of open slots for people to book at our mass vaccination sites.”
Correction: Due to a reporting error, earlier version of this story misattributed a quote to a daughter of Lucie Cosentino. The Globe regrets the error.