Last Thursday, Gov. Charlie Baker announced that the state’s mass vaccination site at Fenway Park will be moving to the Hynes Convention Center in the Back Bay on March 18.
“Red Sox opening day is coming up on April 1, and our current plan allows fans in the stand with a strict 12 percent capacity limit,” Baker said. “With that in mind,” he said, the state has been in conversation with the Red Sox, CIC Health, which operates the site, and the other partners “about the future of that site.”
Baker said that the Hynes Convention Center will be ready to accept patients on Thursday, March 18, and the last day of the Fenway site will be Saturday, March 27.
“All individuals that were vaccinated at Fenway Park and have a second appointment scheduled will be able to receive their second dose at the Hynes,” Baker said. CIC Health will reach out to patients via email, “and there will be additional outreach to make sure that they know where they need to go and when they need to be there,” Baker said.
“We’re grateful to Fenway and to the Red Sox, along with CIC Health for their incredible work operating this highly effective, friendly, welcoming, and efficient site.”
To date, the Fenway site has administered more than 25,000 vaccinations, and Baker said that by the end of the month, they are expected to have administered more than 55,000 doses.
“This month, the new Hynes site will ramp up to do the same volume of vaccinations as are currently being done at Fenway Park, which is about 1500 a day,” Baker said. “And later this spring, if our supply increases, the Hynes has room to scale up to more than 5000 shots per day.”
Baker said the decision to move the site was based on several factors, including that Fenway Park is a place where baseball players practice as well as play games, and Baker said that there is “a certain amount of potential confusion for people going there to get a vaccine” if there are other things going on at the ballpark at the same time.
“I just think from our point of view, the Hynes was a more permanent solution that we could use on a go forward basis,” Baker said. “The bottom line was the fundamental purpose of Fenway Park is to provide a place for the Red Sox to practice and play baseball.”
He also said that there have been “tremendous drops” in both positive test results and hospitalizations for the virus. “We’re in a very different place now than we were then,” he said, referring to when the site first opened earlier this year.
Elliott Laffer, Chair of the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay, said that the clinic moving to the Hynes Convention Center will “make it more convenient for those who live in the Back Bay,” and it’s also closer to a T stop than Fenway Park.
“I think it’s positive,” Laffer said. “It is serving a useful role while it can’t host conventions and it’s probably a better location as a building than Fenway Park.”
Laffer said that while the clinic is located in the Back Bay, it is a place for residents both inside and outside of the neighborhood to get vaccinated. He said that after people receive their vaccinations, if they’re feeling well enough, they can patronize businesses in and around the Prudential Center and Newbury Street, which would be good for local business in the community.
“We’re certainly pleased it’s going to be there,” Laffer said. “It’s not ours; it’s everybody’s.”