Pandemic help wanted: Fast food managers, road race experts

Full Screen
1 / 11

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Boston Marathon Race Director Dave McGillivray poses Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021, outside Fenway Park in Boston. Since the 2021 Boston Marathon is on hold until fall, McGillivray has been tapped by the state of Massachusetts to run mass vaccination operations at Gillette Stadium and Fenway Park. Event organizers and other unconventional logistics experts are using their skills to help the nation vaccinate as many people against COVID-19 as possible. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

A year into the coronavirus pandemic, Americans are painfully aware that overcoming the scourge is a marathon, not a sprint.

Enter Dave McGillivray, who knows a thing or two about endurance events — and logistics.

The race director of the Boston Marathon, which is on hold until fall, has been tapped by the state of Massachusetts to run mass vaccination operations at Gillette Stadium and Fenway Park.

Idled at his day job by the pandemic, he's part of an emerging group of event organizers and other unconventional logistics experts who are using their skills to help the nation vaccinate as many people against COVID-19 as possible.

“It's amazing how our event management skill set can be applied to running a massive vaccination site," said McGillivray, who has been directing the marathon — with its many moving parts — for more than three decades.

The push for creative workarounds comes as virus cases surge nationwide, lines grow at testing and vaccination sites and tempers flare as government websites crash beneath the digital weight of millions desperately seeking appointments.

Likening it to a “wartime effort,” President Joe Biden announced this week that the U.S. is ramping up deliveries to hard-pressed states and expects to provide enough doses to vaccinate 300 million Americans by the end of the summer or early fall.

In Washington state, Starbucks and Amazon are being pressed into service for vaccination operations and logistics support, and a union representing food and commercial workers is helping to staff the effort.