State paying more than $1M weekly for Gillette, Fenway sites

Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, one of Massachusetts’ first mass coronavirus vaccination sites. File photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts is paying a total of more than $1 million per week to the for-profit startup that is running coronavirus mass vaccination sites at Fenway Park and Gillette Stadium, according to state records.

The more than $625,000 weekly price tag for Gillette includes a minimum weekly payment of $344,575, the Boston Herald reported Friday, citing state documents obtained in a public records request.

The Fenway site is costing the state more than $540,000 weekly.

Both are run by CIC Health. The company declined comment.

The state failed to provide complete contracts for two other vendors running mass vaccination sites in Massachusetts.

But contracts for Curative — which operates mass vaccination sites in Springfield and Danvers — show the state is paying $45 per shot in addition to covering expenses for security and traffic control. Curative also declined comment.

Some state lawmakers question whether the state is getting a good deal.

“I am extremely concerned that these private companies are being paid exorbitant amounts of our tax dollars instead of utilizing capable, local cities and towns to assist with distribution,” state Sen. Diana DiZoglio, D-Methuen, told the Herald.

She has called on the state auditor and inspector general to investigate a growing number of no-bid contracts handed out by the state during the pandemic.

Gov. Charlie Baker defended the decision to hire private companies.

“This is a race against time,” he said Thursday, noting local public health infrastructure “had a lot of catching up to do.”

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FIELD HOSPITAL WINDING DOWN

The field hospital set up at the DCU Center in Worcester could close within the next couple of weeks, but would remain ready to reopen again should it be needed, Worcester’s city manager says.

The 220-bed field hospital at the convention center and sports arena has averaged fewer than 10 patients a week since mid-February, City Manager Edward Augustus Jr. said Thursday, when it had just eight patients.

“The initial conversations with the state are that we’d probably keep it as a ‘warm site,’” Augustus said. “So set up, just not staffed and not have patients there for about another month or so after that.”

With coronavirus patient numbers declining at the city’s two hospitals — Saint Vincent and UMass Memorial — the field hospital isnt needed, he said.

The DCU Center was used as a field hospital from April through June, then reopened in December as the state feared a surge COVID-19 cases would overwhelm hospitals.

A field hospital was also set up in Lowell.