ATTLEBORO — By 2:10 p.m. Wednesday, the parking lot at Willett School was empty except for a big yellow bus containing coronavirus vaccine, needles and those who could administer the shots.
The bus, owned by Yankee Lines, was contracted by the state to stop at 23 communities from “Pittsfield to Provincetown” to offer vaccinations to young and old alike. But after about an hour, the demand dwindled to none.
It was contracted to be there from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. with a nurse and an EMT from Purple Shield Medical LLC out of Rhode Island. So it’s possible business picked up after people got out of work, but driver Mike Buchanan said the demand has varied form place to place.
Two days ago, the bus was in Brockton where about 43 people showed up to get shots.
But up in the Lowell and Lawrence area, shot seekers were few and far between, he said.
And sometimes, the bus has been met by anti-vaccination protests, he said, showing photos he took with his cellphone.
The Pfizer vaccine, which can be administered to those 12 and older, and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine were available.
The Pfizer vaccine requires two shots and the J&J just one.
But in Attleboro, the dozen or so people who showed up at 1 p.m. were mostly parents with their children.
“We’re seeing more and more kids,” Buchanan said, adding that ages have ranged from 12 to the 20s.
“Sometimes college kids will drive by and ask if they can get a shot and then they’ll pull in with their cars,” he said.
One family of five, two parents and three children, who were waiting in line, declined to be interviewed.
But a mom and her son from North Attleboro were willing to talk.
Trisha Gautier brought her 12 year-old-son Jacob to get vaccinated.
They had missed out on an opportunity in their town which prompted them to seek out the “Vax Bus,” as it’s known.
“We want to be safe and protect our family and others,” Gautier said.
Julie Boyce of North Attleboro, who still wears a mask in public, brought her sons Ryan, 18, and Jonathan, 13, to take the jab.
They were also wearing masks.
“I’d rather be safe than sorry,” Boyce said.
Her 28-year-old daughter and her daughter’s 4-month-old infant both caught coronavirus at Christmas before the vaccines were available, so she’s already had run-ins with the disease and doesn’t want more.
Mother and child recovered but it was a “scary” time, Boyce said.
Another mom, Judy Taylor of Attleboro, brought her 14-year-old daughter Brooke to get the vaccine.
Taylor works at Boston Medical Center and was vaccinated months ago.
But as a hospital employee she’s seen the effects of coronavirus.
“I feel it’s very important to be vaccinated,” Taylor said.
She said she didn’t do it earlier because her work schedule made it hard.
The timing wasn’t right, but she had Wednesday off and was able to take advantage of the Vax Bus.
“We’re very grateful this service came to Attleboro,” Taylor said.
Not everyone getting vaccinated was a kid.
John Bonneau is 52 and lives on Hodges Street just around the corner from Willett.
He recently got out of a nursing home where he was undergoing rehabilitation after a serious knee operation and an infection.
Bonneau said he could not get a vaccination at the nursing home.
He was not admitted until after shots had been given to staff and other patients, so his stay was a bit nerve-wracking, he said.
But on Wednesday he felt better.
“It’s a big relief,” he said after getting the J&J shot.
The Vax Bus will be back in the city on Aug. 4 to give the second dose to those who got the Pfizer vaccine.