By Bill Shields

BOSTON (CBS) – Will the state have the muscle-power to deliver all the COVID-19 vaccines when they start arriving in large quantities?

“Some infrastructure exists. And a lot is being built,” said Dr. Paul Biddinger of Massachusetts General Hospital and the COVID Advisory Board. “Clearly this is a bigger undertaking than any we normally have ever done for vaccination.”

Gillette Stadium will become a mass vaccination site. Facilities like the site of the Marshfield Fair are under consideration as vaccine sites as well. And the state has partnered with large pharmacy chains to deliver the shots when Phases 2 and 3 get underway.

But a major player in the vaccine distribution will be neighborhood health clinics, like East Boston Neighborhood Health. “We fully expect to provide vaccinations to our patients,” said Greg Wilmot. Their facilities in East Boston and the South End have nearly 100,000, and they’re doing COVID testing for nearly 500 people a day. But they think they can pivot to vaccinations.

“Our goal is to make sure our patients have access to testing and to the vaccine when it becomes available,” said Kelly Hennessy of East Boston Neighborhood Health.

“All of the systems involved are going to gear up so they can give the vaccines as fast as it’s arriving,” Biddinger said.

Bill Shields