With the New England Patriots not qualifying for the NFL playoffs thanks to their disappointing 7-9 record, their arena found a new use in January: instead of hosting 70,000 people in a postseason setting, Gillette Stadium was transformed into the first mass-Coronavirus vaccination site in Massachusetts.
On Monday, the same day the Patriots opened their mandatory minicamp, the site was officially closed.
“I don’t think there’s any words that can convey how special it is to be part of something that saves lives,” Rachel Wilson, president of CIC Health, told the Boston Herald. “To actually be part of the solution has been so humbling.”
The process of vaccinating people at Gillette Stadium started with a soft launch on January 14, followed by the official vaccination process kicking off four days later for first responders and health care workers. Since then, more than 600,000 people have gotten their Covid-19 shots at the Patriots’ stadium and headquarters — 610,283, to be exact:
Today, the Gillette Stadium mass vaccination site officially closes with 6️⃣1️⃣0️⃣,2️⃣8️⃣3️⃣ total vaccines administered.— Gillette Stadium (@GilletteStadium) June 14, 2021
Thank you for doing your part! ❤️@CIC_Health | @MassGov pic.twitter.com/ml9kcF0dxK
That number has not been randomly selected, though. Instead, it carries some symbolic meaning tied to the hosts of the vaccination site:
- 6: The number of Super Bowls won by the Patriots
- 10: The number of Super Bowls played under owner Robert Kraft
- 283: A nod to the Patriots’ famous comeback from 28-3 in Super Bowl 51
As of June 14, over 8.3 million vaccine doses have been administered in Massachusetts. 7.4 percent of those vaccinations happened at Gillette Stadium. Almost 4 million people have been fully vaccinated in the Commonwealth already, but about 20 percent of the population still remain fully unprotected against Covid-19.
As for Gillette Stadium, those who left only partially vaccinated can still pick up a second shot if needed: pharmacies and grocery stores are also offering Coronavirus vaccinations.