Massachusetts mass vaccination sites at Fenway, Gillette costing $1.1 million a week

Massachusetts mass vaccination sites at Fenway, Gillette costing .1 million a week

For-profit companies that popped up amid the pandemic are raking in millions of dollars per week running the state’s mass vaccination sites, but lawmakers are raising questions about whether private vendors are “up to the job.”

“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.

Mass vaccination sites at Fenway Park and Gillette Stadium run by Cambridge-based startup CIC Health are costing taxpayers more than $1.1 million per week, according to contracts obtained via a public records request.

The $625,440 weekly price tag for Gillette includes $280,865 in expenses and a minimum weekly payment of $344,575.

The Fenway cost of $540,013 includes $235,046 in expenses plus a $304,967 minimum weekly payment for vaccine administration.

The total price tag for the state’s seven high-volume vaccination centers is still unclear, as the state has failed to provide complete contracts for the two other vendors. It’s also unclear how much will be reimbursed through federal aid.

Contracts for Curative — which operates mass vaccination sites at the Eastfield Mall in Springfield and at a DoubleTree Hilton in Danvers — revealed the state is paying $45 per shot in addition to covering expenses for security and traffic control. That per-shot payout is about double the Medicare rate.

A third Curative site in Dartmouth was not included in the contract provided to the Herald.

Contracts for the Reggie Lewis Center vaccination site in Roxbury — a CIC site — and for a Natick Mall clinic run by LabCorp, a publicly traded diagnostics company headquartered in North Carolina, have yet to be provided.

DiZoglio accused Gov. Charlie Baker of “refusing” to answer questions about “why these companies, in particular, have been chosen.”

She has called on the state auditor and inspector general to investigate a growing number of no-bid contracts wracking up amid the current public health emergency which exempts the administration from typical procurement rules.

Baker defended the decision to hire companies he said provided “efficiency, speed, and capacity.”

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

But in a recent legislative oversight hearing Merridith O’Leary, Northampton public health director, criticized Baker for “hiring vendors to give out vaccines that have no public health background.”

State Sen. Joanne Comerford, D-Northampton, said “there are lots of reasons to be concerned” as reports of lines and other issues pile up, particularly at the Eastfield Mall site.

“We’re asking questions in light of what seemed to be a totally failed system of a contractor not up to the job,” said Comerford, who is leading a legislative oversight commission looking into the COVID-19 response.

California-based Curative was launched in January 2020 by a 25-year-old Oxford University dropout, according to the website.

CIC Health organized in June by the owners of the Cambridge Innovation Center — a real estate company that offers flexible, affordable co-working space to tech startups, corporate records show.

Both companies declined to comment for this story.

CIC Health CEO Tim Rowe previously told the Herald the Baker administration asked CIC to help set up vaccine infrastructure after successfully partnering for testing sites around the state. Brian Dacey, a real estate mogul and the company’s president has donated more $2,500 to Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito since 2017, campaign finance records show.

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