(CBS Boston/CBS Local) – New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said the franchise is proud to offer Gillette Stadium as a COVID-19 mass vaccination site, saying he hopes others will do the same in order to “get our country back.”
The vaccination site opened at Gillette Stadium for first responders on Monday. Another is set to open at Fenway Park on February 1.
“We have celebrated some great moments here over the past 19 years, but maybe none as important as what we’re doing here today, right now,” Kraft said Thursday during a press conference with Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker.
On the first day vaccines were administered at Gillette, 100 were issued. As of Thursday, Baker said they are administering 1,500 a day.
“There’s no doubt in my mind they’ll be at 5,000 in the not so distant future,” said Baker.
Gillette Stadium became the first professional sports venue in the northeast to become a large scale vaccination site.
“We’ve always thought that our purchasing the team would be a way to bring the community together and hopefully do good work. None of us imagine this to happen, but the fact that we have a space that can be utilized to try to help serve a public need is very rewarding for us,” Kraft said. “Hopefully we can use the outdoor space as well because we have to get our country back. I think it effects people’s psychological, minds, everything else. Getting these vaccines will do more to get people peace of mind. I hope every venue that can do this throughout the country does it.”
The Patriots were unable to host any fans at games this season, something Kraft hopes will change in the fall.
“As much as we love hosting these vaccinations, what we’re looking forward to most is to return to normal and host Patriot and Revolution fans in person this coming season,” said Kraft. “So, we’ll keep our fingers crossed on that.”