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Kraft says “real shot” at Gillette hosting fans next season as mass vaccination site opens

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Katie Lannan

Twenty-seven years to the day after he bought the New England Patriots, Robert Kraft said Thursday that he looks forward to once again welcoming fans back into the venue and described the COVID-19 vaccines currently being administered there as a “first step toward a return to normalcy.”

Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito joined Kraft for a tour of the mass vaccination site operating out of Gillette, the first such set-up in the state. The stadium also hosted as a drive-through testing site earlier in the pandemic.

“In 2002, we privately built Gillette Stadium to provide a home to our sports franchises, and we have celebrated some great moments here over the past 19 years, but maybe none as important as what we are doing here today, right now,” Kraft said.

Kraft said Gillette is the first professional sports venue in the northeast to provide large-scale vaccinations, and has scaled up from 300 vaccinations a day to 1,500.

“After the year we have had, these vaccinations provide a light and give hope for a brighter future,” he said. “As much as we love hosting these vaccinations what we’re looking for most is to return to normal, and host our Patriot and Revolution fans in-person this coming season right out here. So we’ll keep our fingers crossed on that, but we believe we have a real shot at doing that.”

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