Starting today, Massachusetts residents who have yet to get the COVID-19 vaccine can do so on their next grocery store run — and save a little money while they’re at it.
The state announced a partnership with Market Basket to offer free, walk-up vaccination clinics in the parking lot of locations in Chelsea, Fall River, Lawrence, Lynn, and Revere on Thursdays through Saturdays for the next two weeks, followed by second dose appointments that can be scheduled for late June or early July. Residents getting their first shot also will be given a $25 gift certificate to Market Basket — an incentive that’s funded by the state, Governor Charlie Baker said at a press conference on Wednesday.
Two-thirds of all Massachusetts residents have already gotten at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, and the new mobile clinics are part of the state’s attempt to expand accessibility, Baker said. Massachusetts leads the nation in its inoculation rates with 53.6 percent of the population fully vaccinated, trailing only Vermont, which has 56.4 percent of people fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The mobile clinics are located in some of the state’s hardest-hit communities, where inoculation rates are slightly lower in comparison to rates across the rest of the state.
For example, in Boston, about 60 percent of the population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, while in Fall River and Lawrence, about 45 percent of the population has, and in Lynn, 54 percent has received at least one dose, according to data from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Vaccination rates in Chelsea and Revere were roughly on par with Boston and the rest of the state, according to the data.
Governor Baker also called the new pop-up locations “heavily traveled” and “convenient.” He said the state would send phone alerts to residents of the five cities “to make sure people have a chance to take advantage of a vaccine in their backyard.”
Residents also can get a free Lyft ride to and from vaccination sites by texting “free ride” to 833-460-2202.
Market Basket joins other grocery store chains such as Stop & Shop and Wegmans to offer the COVID-19 vaccine to shoppers, but is the first to offer the incentive.