Encore Boston Harbor to Become a COVID Vaccination Site

Encore Boston Harbor will now not only feature slots, but also shots.

The resort casino in Everett was confirmed on Monday to be a new mass vaccination site for the state, locating a COVID-19 vaccination program, in collaboration with Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) and the City of Everett, at an empty ballroom to serve employees of Encore and the general public.

As an added convenience for the public, the Encore runner shuttle can be used to get free transportation to and from the casino vaccination program, with a stop in Chelsea at the Market Basket Silver Line Station.

The vaccination center is located in Encore Boston Harbor’s Picasso Ballroom near the Resort South elevators with direct access to the self-parking garage, where parking is complimentary for all visitors. The site will offer approximately 300 shots per day, which will ramp up to around 700 per day as the program progresses.

The matter has been discussed quietly for a few weeks now, but was made official during the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) meeting Monday morning.

The casino kicked off the effort Tuesday at the resort.

“I do understand Encore has been designated a vaccination site starting (Tuesday) where vaccines will be available to the public and to their employees as well,” said Loretta Lillios, of the MGC.

Said MGC Chair Kathy Judd-Stein, “One development we just learned about was the designation of Encore as a vaccination site, which shows the great partnership with not only its host community of Everett, but for the entire Commonwealth…I think it will help employees but it is open to the public. Particularly for the surrounding communities, it will be available and hopefully they can take advantage of that access. That’s good news.”

Encore President Brian Gullbrants said it was a chance to aid in the state’s health and economic recovery.

“We want to help residents of Everett and our surrounding communities receive the vaccine as quickly and conveniently as possible,” said Gullbrants. “We are looking forward to hosting this vaccination center in partnership with the City of Everett and Cambridge Health Alliance. Together we hope to aid in our state’s health and economic recovery.”

In early April, spokesperson Rosie Salisbury told the Independent they were happy to be considered and hoped the effort would lead to becoming a designated site.

“We are pleased to be considered for a potential regional vaccination site and we look forward to helping to serve our communities should this come to fruition,” she said on April 6.

Between then and now, there have been a number of things to come under consideration, protocols to follow and other matters to address. Finally, this week, the casino was cleared to open for vaccinations.

Said Assaad Sayah, MD, CEO of Cambridge Health Alliance, “Cambridge Health Alliance serves many of the communities that have been hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. Helping local residents stay healthy is our priority, and we are grateful for the support from the City of Everett and Encore Boston Harbor to mobilize vaccination efforts in our region.”

To make an appointment, individuals should call Cambridge Health Alliance’s COVID-19 vaccination hotline at (617) 665-2100.  Appointments are required and walk-ins will not be accepted.

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