Mohegan Sun Casino Resort Becomes Mass COVID-19 Vaccination Site in Connecticut

Posted on: February 19, 2021, 11:07h. 

Last updated on: February 22, 2021, 04:00h.

Mohegan Sun in Connecticut is one of the largest casino resorts in the world. And as of this morning, it’s one of the largest mass COVID-19 vaccination sites in the United States.

Mohegan Sun COVID-19 site
The Mohegan Sun COVID-19 vaccination clinic is seen here hours before its opening. The first doses were administered at the site this morning. (Image: NBC Connecticut)

Owned and operated by the Mohegan Tribe, the Native American casino has partnered with the state and Yale New Haven Health to build a large-scale vaccination site for Connecticut residents. The clinic is located at Mohegan Sun’s Earth Expo & Convention Center.

This latest mass vaccination site shows the coordinated effort our state is making with our tribal partners, and our partners in health care,” said Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D).

The Mohegan Sun vaccine clinic is by appointment only. People aged 65 and older qualify. The facility can administer up to 300 doses daily.

Mohegan Sun is one of many casinos in the country that have offered their facilities to become vaccination centers. A few notable casinos that are running COVID-19 vaccination programs include Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, Live! Casino Hotel in Maryland, and Wind Creek Bethlehem in Pennsylvania.

Tribes, Governor Align in COVID Fight

Mohegan Sun’s mass vaccination site opened today. Connecticut’s other tribe — the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation — says they, too, are working to open a mega clinic at their Foxwoods Resort Casino.

The Mashantucket tribe says it’s working with Hartford Healthcare to build a “mega vaccination site” at Foxwoods.

The tribes and state weren’t always on the same page when it came to COVID-19. Being sovereign enterprises, the Mohegan and Mashantucket tribes do not need to adhere to state orders regarding their casino operations.

Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods temporarily closed of their own accords in mid-March of 2020. When they announced their decision to reopen the casino resorts on June 1, Lamont pleaded with the tribes to remain closed. They didn’t.

“I wasn’t happy about it,” Lamont said at the time of the casinos’ reopenings. In response, Lamont ordered the Connecticut Department of Transportation to position highway warning signs on state roads near the tribal casinos.

“DON’T GAMBLE W/COVID,” read the highway alerts. “AVOID LG. INDOOR GATHERINGS.”

Connecticut Leads New England Vaccination Race

Connecticut’s distribution of COVID-19 vaccines is going well. Per data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and US Census Bureau, 15 percent of Connecticut’s population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. That’s tied for second, behind only Alaska at 18 percent.

The five other states typically grouped in the New England region aren’t doing nearly as well. Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont are at 13 percent, New Hampshire is at 12 percent, and Rhode Island 10 percent.

Approximately 6.5 percent of Connecticut residents have been fully vaccinated with two shots. That ranks fifth in the country behind Alaska (8.9 percent), West Virginia (8.3 percent), New Mexico (6.9 percent), and North Dakota (6.6 percent).