Keolis, CIC Health organize Commuter Rail Vax Express for stations in Worcester, Mattapan and South Stations in Boston, Lowell, Lawrence and Fitchburg
BOSTON – June 11, 2021 – The Baker-Polito Administration announced today a new initiative, the Vax Express, to help further increase access to the COVID-19 vaccine, particularly in communities with low vaccination rates. The Vax Express aims to further increase the Commonwealth’s vaccination rate by offering a unique, and community-focused approach to encourage more people to get vaccinated. Massachusetts continues to be a national leader in vaccination rates with 80 percent of adults having received at least one dose and over 3.9 million residents fully vaccinated.
CIC Health, a partner in the Commonwealth’s vaccination effort, will take over an MBTA Commuter Rail train, establishing a rolling vaccination site known as the Vax Express, which will make stops at stations in disproportionately impacted communities with low vaccination rates. These stations are located in central locations in each community, providing a convenient location for residents to get vaccinated.
“The Commonwealth continues to lead the nation in vaccinating our residents, and our goal remains getting every person who wants a vaccine a shot,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “As we get closer to our goal of vaccinating over 4 million residents, we are increasing targeted, community-based clinics to reach remaining populations.”
“The MBTA is pleased to be a part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s comprehensive efforts to increase access to the Commonwealth’s vaccination program,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “As vaccination rates increase, the MBTA looks forward to serving current and returning riders while maintaining a transit environment that is safe and comfortable for everyone.”
“As historic and central features in our cities and towns, train stations are an attractive vaccination location because they are convenient and allow for a fun community-focused event,” said John Killeen, Acting CEO of Keolis Commuter Services. “Our Keolis Boston team is proud to support the Commonwealth’s efforts to enhance vaccine access, especially in a way that advances equity, and contributes to improving the health and safety of our families, friends and neighbors.”
From June 16 to 20, the Vax Express will make stops at stations in Worcester, Lowell, Lawrence, Fitchburg, and in Boston in Mattapan, North Station and South Station. Vaccinations will take place at these local stations aboard the train, which will be staffed by CIC Health partner Cataldo Ambulance. The public can walk-up without an appointment or book an appointment in advance. The Vax Express will offer the two-dose Pfizer vaccine for ages 12 and up and the single-dose J&J vaccine for ages 18 and up. Additional information and appointment booking is available at cic-health.com/VaxExpress.
CIC Health operates mass vaccination sites at Gillette Stadium, the Reggie Lewis Center, and the Hynes Convention Center. Keolis, the MBTA’s commuter rail operating partner, will provide train crews and other resources to operate the Vax Express and deploy it to communities throughout the region. Keolis worked with CIC Health and the Massachusetts COVID-19 Command Center to develop the operational schedule for this initiative.
“Creative outreach and the vaccination experience have been a focus for CIC Health since launching Gillette Stadium in January, and the Vax Express is an extension of that focus,” said Rodrigo Martinez, chief marketing & experience officer for CIC Health. “We are proud to partner with the State, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Keolis, and the MBTA on another exciting initiative to get the vaccine to communities that need it and in a way that meets them where they are and gives them a great experience.”
Sharing the common mission of increasing vaccination rates and helping to end the global COVID-19 pandemic, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) sponsored this initiative. “The COVID-19 vaccination effort is the biggest public health campaign of our lifetime, and we’re proud to support our state and local communities in that effort,” said Andrew Dreyfus, President and Chief Executive Officer at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. “The Vax Express is one more innovative way to ensure equity in vaccination, helping to expand access to the communities that have suffered the most during the pandemic.”
The Vax Express will make the following stops along the MBTA Commuter Rail network:
June 16: Mattapan and Boston
Blue Hill Ave. Station on the Fairmount line, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
South Station, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
June 17: Worcester
Worcester’s Union Station on the Worcester line, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
June 18: Lowell and Boston
Lowell Station on the Lowell line, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
North Station, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
June 19: Lawrence
Lawrence Station on the Haverhill line, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
June 20: Fitchburg
Fitchburg Station on the Fitchburg line, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
A second round of vaccinations aboard the Vax Express will take place July 7 to 11 at these same locations. Dates and times will be announced soon.