Sun, Shades and Shots: COVID Vaccine Clinic Sets Up Shop on Busy Vermont Beach

North Beach in Burlington is playing host to a pair of pop-up vaccination clinics

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A busy beach in Vermont’s largest city played host to a vaccine clinic unlike most you’ve probably seen. The mission was the same as all the others, but the location was certainly more laid-back.

North Beach in Burlington, where the temperature hit 90 degrees Thursday, was the place to cool off in Lake Champlain, play some games and even get your COVID-19 vaccine.

“I just planned on reading on the beach, just doing my thing,” said Sam Parks, 21, who learned about the pop-up clinic on her way to the beach’s snack bar.

Parks signed up right away for the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

A cupola, a historic Vermont landmark, was carefully removed from Saint Michael's College to be restored and reused.

“When I pulled up and found out what was happening, I was like, ‘This is so smart,’” Parks said. “This is the perfect place to target people in my age group.”

Walgreens set up shop at the beach through a partnership with the state of Vermont and Burlington’s Parks, Recreation, and Waterfront Department. The Burlington Fire Department was on-hand as well, providing EMT services in case they were needed.

The goal was to reach young people who hadn’t yet gotten around to signing up for their vaccines, though people of all ages could walk in to the clinic to receive their dose.

Eli Vadnais, 21, was grateful for a location he knew about and where parking was easy.

“It’s a nice day — I just figured, might as well,” Vadnais said.

“It’s a beautiful setting,” said Nicholas Burnett, 21.

Burnett told NECN and NBC10 Boston he's glad he's a big step closer to putting his mask away.

“It makes you feel free,” Burnett said of getting his vaccine. “So you can go anywhere and do things, you know, without having this [mask] on all the time.”

Massachusetts' mask mandate will end next week, but some businesses will continue to require face coverings.

Now that she’s protected, Sam Parks said she is looking forward to a much more carefree summer.

“I just get to go sit on the beach and just say, ‘You know what? I’m good, because I got the vaccine!’” Parks said.

The pop-up clinic will be back at North Beach Friday, May 21, from 12:00-2:30 p.m. for a few hundred more doses, no registration needed.

Click here for more information on getting the COVID-19 vaccine in Vermont, including the locations of walk-in clinics around the state.

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