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Mass vaccination site opens at the Natick Mall and distribution gets off to a smooth start

The scene through a window into the mass vaccination site at the Natick Mall on Monday.
The scene through a window into the mass vaccination site at the Natick Mall on Monday.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

NATICK — A new mass vaccine site opened Monday morning in the former Sears store at the Natick Mall.

Claire Kirylo, 71, of Somerville, came out of the mall and said she was pleased by how seamless the process was for getting the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

“They’re so well-organized,” she said. “They had me stay a little longer because I had some allergies, but it was fantastic. It was a great experience.”

Getting the appointment “was a little tougher,” she said. “We had two computers going and we gave up after two hours.”

Her daughter was eventually able to get through and make the appointment for her.


“I lucked out,” she said.

The Baker administration plans on Wednesday to open a mass vaccination site at another vacant storefront: the former Circuit City in Dartmouth. Mass vaccination sites are also open at Gillette Stadium, Fenway Park, the DoubleTree in Danvers, and the Eastfield Mall in Springfield.

The Natick location, which will be open Monday through Friday, will distribute about 500 doses of the vaccine daily, though state officials hope to increase that number to 3,000 doses a day as supply ramps up, according to a statement from the state’s Department of Public Health.

The Dartmouth site, open seven days a week, will begin with 500 doses per day, then increase to 2,000 over several weeks.

Officials stress that appointments are needed and neither Natick nor Dartmouth is set up to accept walk-in applicants.

A man entered the mass vaccination site at the Natick Mall on Monday.
A man entered the mass vaccination site at the Natick Mall on Monday.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

The state is in the midst of a multi-phase vaccination program. Two groups became eligible late last week: those over the age of 65, and people with two or more medical conditions the state deems high risk, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, obesity, and cancer. Front-line health care workers, as well as residents and staff of congregate care facilities, became eligible in December. Those 75 and older have been eligible since the start of this month.


The Natick site is on the lower level of the former Sears store. Those with appointments are asked to proceed to Parking Garage C and not use the mall’s main entrance. They must stay in their cars until they are scheduled to receive their shot.

The Dartmouth location has a parking lot directly outside the former electronics giant. Both are wheelchair-accessible.

The Natick site is being operated by LabCorp, according to the Baker administration. The Dartmouth site will be operated by Curative.

Face masks and social distancing are required at both sites.

Eligible people can try to make appointments by visiting Mass.Gov/CovidVaccine or by calling 211.

Marilyn Correa, 66, of Hudson, wore a big smile under her pink mask after coming out of the mall on Monday.

“It’s been such a stress for so long, and all of a sudden it’s like, ‘whew,’ ” she said. “And I’m by myself, I can’t like go ‘woo hoo!’ and jump through this place because I’m by myself. . . . But when I get home I will.”

Correa said she spent about an hour online Thursday trying to get the appointment.

“We were very fortunate,” she said.

Ray Richards, 69, of Wellesley, said he didn’t have high hopes for getting vaccinated without an appointment Monday, but figured it was worth a try. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine would give him peace of mind and make him feel safer at his job.


“The other thing which frustrates me, I work at a grocery store and we have no idea about the people that shop there, if they have [COVID-19] or not,” he said. “So it’s hard, you know? I’d like to get [the vaccine] sooner than later.”

Travis Andersen, John R. Ellement, and Gal Tziperman Lotan of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

Emily Sweeney can be reached at emily.sweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.