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Onboard the Vax Express

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In June and July of this year, Keolis Boston partnered with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the MBTA, Blue Cross Blue Shield and CIC Health to bring vaccines to communities in the greater Boston region severely impacted by COVID-19 and with low rates of vaccination. A whistle-stop tour of seven communities, the Vax Express offered an onboard and community-focused approach to encourage more people to get vaccinated.  


“As historic and central features in our cities and towns, train stations are an attractive vaccination location because they are convenient and allow for a fun community-focused event,” said John Killeen, Acting CEO of Keolis Commuter Services. “Our Keolis Boston team is proud to support the Commonwealth’s efforts to enhance vaccine access, especially in a way that advances equity, and contributes to improving the health and safety of our families, friends and neighbors.”


From June 16 to 20, and again from July 14 to 18, the Vax Express made stops at stations in Worcester, Lowell, Lawrence, Fitchburg, and in Boston in Mattapan, North Station, and South Station. Vaccinations took place at these local stations aboard the train, which was staffed by CIC Health partner Cataldo Ambulance. 


In addition to passengers and other members of the public, the Vax Express provided an opportunity for Keolis employees to easily access the vaccine. Station stops were selected based on both community needs as well as ease of access for employees working in locations like layover and maintenance facilities. Members of the Keolis team even brought their teenage children to get vaccinated, thanks to a robust internal communication campaign.  


Keolis, in partnership with the MBTA, has been proactive in the fight against COVID-19 in the workplace, onboard trains, in passenger areas, and in the communities it serves. Keolis even donated more than 100,000 facemasks to communities with high infection rates through its access to a global pipeline of personal protective equipment (PPE). 


Throughout the pandemic, employees received 10 COVID-specific sick days and additional support through telehealth services, employee wellness resources, and more. 


Keolis is grateful to the many employees from across departments who helped make the Vax Express successful in delivering hundreds of vaccine doses around the greater Boston region. The initiative also helped address vaccine hesitancy through both paid and earned radio, TV, print, and digital media that ran for weeks.  



Left to right: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sandhya Rao, Keolis Boston Acting CEO John Killeen, Worcester Woo Sox Mascot Smiley Ball, CIC Health head of community outreach and vaccine equity.