Curative clinic opens at former Circuit City
Once the center of consumer electronics, the old Circuit City is now the South Coast’s center of mass vaccinations.
Just on the edge of the Dartmouth Towne Center, the state’s newest mass vaccination clinic officially began inoculations on Feb. 24 for what Curative Director of Operations Blake Lackey said was a “soft launch” of 300 shots.
After the site officially opens for its regular hours of operation, Lackey said there will be a gradual increase of appointments — between 1,000 and 1,500 per day.
“We’re really excited to be here,” Lackey said. “It’s been a Herculean effort that we're very proud of.”
Curative — a Los Angeles-based company that launched in January 2020 to develop a new sepsis test, but pivoted to Covid testing in March last year — is already running mass vaccine clinics in Springfield and Danvers, both of which ran into organizational issues earlier this month.
In Springfield, senior citizens were left waiting in long lines outdoors in the cold, reportedly resulting in the National Guard being called in to help.
Town officials previously expressed concern over the Circuit City site. Public Health Director Chris Michaud said that the health department had already rejected the site for a vaccine clinic due to lack of parking and traffic flow issues.
To manage traffic, Lackey said Curative has contracted off-duty Dartmouth police officers to assist with the influx of cars. He added that the Massachusetts Department of Transportation also provided signs to “get people into the right area.”
There is also a designated drop-off spot in front of the clinic for groups.
“We want to provide a comfortable experience,” he said. “Our goal is to minimize the total time on the site.”
At the Danvers clinic, disorganization around extra doses reportedly left some with appointments unvaccinated while others without appointments reportedly received the vaccine.
According to Lackey, since the Dartmouth site is appointment only, no doses will go to waste.
“Even if that person doesn’t come, it’s our job to manage the vaccine such that the person’s vaccine is moved to a subsequent day,” he said.
Westport resident Janice Leonardo was among the first patients at the soft launch. She said that the site was “very well organized,” noting that staff were constantly directing patients throughout the vaccination process.
“I mean it was a little nerve wracking at first because you don’t know what to expect,” Leonardo said. “But other than that everything was fine and I’d do it again.”
All available appointments are currently booked at the site, but new appointments open Thursday statewide on a rolling basis. Those interested in scheduling an appointment at the site can sign up at vaxfinder.mass.gov/locations/dartmouth-former-circuit-city/.