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'I'm Breathing Easier': COVID-19 Vaccinations For Those 75 And Over Begin In Massachusetts

Widespread vaccinations for those 75 and older in Massachusetts begin on Monday. But two of the state's mass vaccinations sites — the Eastfield Mall in Springfield and Gillette Stadium in Foxborough — began offering them a few days early.

Harriet Gordon, who's 75, traveled across the state from Marblehead on Friday with her wife, who's 77, to receive the vaccine in Springfield.

Harriet Gordon and Ann McGuire, who traveled from Marblehead, Massachusetts, to get vaccinated at the Eastfield Mall in Springfield, Massachusetts, on January 29, 2021.
Credit Alden Bourne / NEPM
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Harriet Gordon and Ann McGuire, who traveled from Marblehead, Massachusetts, to get vaccinated at the Eastfield Mall in Springfield, Massachusetts, on January 29, 2021.

Gordon said it was a long drive, "but worth every mile. I feel very fortunate that we're among the first and I'm breathing easier."

Gordon reflected what other Massachusetts seniors have been saying: Signing up online to get the vaccine was difficult.

"It took me hours in the middle of the night," she said. "It's very confusing. Someone didn't sit down with 75-year-olds at the table and have them try it before they launched it, and shame on them."

"We're all anxious enough," Gordon said. 'We don't need trying to sign up for the vaccine making us more anxious."

Janice Grimaldi, who lives in Ludlow, was also at the Eastfield Mall on Friday. She went online earlier in the week and got an appointment for her husband, Don, who's 82.

Don and Janice Grimaldi of Ludlow, Massachusetts, at the Eastfield Mall in Springfield, Massachusetts, on January 29, 2021.
Credit Alden Bourne / NEPM
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Don and Janice Grimaldi of Ludlow, Massachusetts, at the Eastfield Mall in Springfield, Massachusetts, on January 29, 2021.

"I'm just a little bit under the age to be able to get one for myself, but we got him done and we feel very good about it, very excited," she said.

The Grimaldis said while getting an appointment was challenging, the vaccination process went smoothly.

Governor Charlie Baker has come under fire for the online sign-up system. He said more resources, including a call center, will be dedicated to making it easier.

Connecticut began vaccinating people 75 and older earlier in the month, although availability of appointments there has also been an issue.

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