Fenway Park is set to admit hundreds of Massachusetts residents a day through its gates — but not for baseball, of course.
The 112-year-old home of the Red Sox is serving as the state’s second-largest mass COVID-19 vaccination site, with plans to administer roughly 500 vaccines doses a day when Phase 2 of the Massachusetts rollout begins Monday before ramping up to 1,250 the following week.
State officials are working to set up more than 100 public vaccination sites, big and small, across Massachusetts. However, it’s hard to say any are as unique as the one off Jersey Street.
Here’s how it works:
First, find out if you’re eligible:
The Fenway Park vaccination site is open to all Massachusetts residents — not just Bostonians — who are eligible to get the vaccine under the state’s three-phase prioritization plan.
As of opening day Monday, that means anyone included in Phase 1 who has yet to get the vaccine and the first Phase 2 priority group: residents over the age of 75.
Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration has said the rollout will expand to other Phase 2 groups — individuals over the age of 65, people with health conditions that make them vulnerable to COVID-19, and frontline workers like teachers — later in February.
The rest of the public will become eligible in Phase 3, which officials say is on track to begin in April.
While it’s unclear when fans will be allowed back at stadiums in Massachusetts, officials are planning to keep the site operational through at least the beginning of baseball season this spring.
Rachel Wilson, the chief operating officer of CIC Health, the Cambridge company managing the Fenway Park vaccination site, told Boston.com that they won’t be open during games, but hope to at least have limited hours of days that the Red Sox are playing.
“Our goal is actually to keep this going as long as we possibly can, even if there are some disruptions to the schedule,” Wilson said.
Make an appointment:
Individuals can register for an appointment through the CIC Health website. Click “schedule now” under Fenway Park and search by date to find an open time slot.
Appointments are currently available 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, though CIC Health says they plan to expand those hours to 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and also weekends in a couple of weeks.
However, a note of caution: due to the limited national supply of vaccine doses, appointments across Massachusetts are scarce and they fill up fast. Case in point, the time slots at Fenway Park had already been booked through the first week of February.
Officials currently plan to list new appointments for the coming week each Thursday, though that may change later on to ensure everyone is getting a fair shot to book a slot.
(Again, there are more than a hundred other vaccination sites in Massachusetts, including another mass vaccination site at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood.)
Parking around Fenway is normally pretty limited and — unlike the vaccine itself — not free.
There are several dozen paid parking lots and garages within walking distance of the park. However, with traffic in general down due to the pandemic, officials do suggest metered street parking as an option. There are also reserved handicap parking along Jersey Street between Van Ness Street and Boylston Street.
For the sake of your meter, staff estimate that the entire process takes about 45 minutes to an hour.
Once you’re there:
OK, now the exciting part:
Patients enter through Fenway Park’s Gate A — located on the corner of Brookline Avenue and Jersey Street — into the vaccination site, which runs inside along the third-baseline concourse.
Upon arrival, they’ll be asked to check in and complete a health screening. Face coverings are required at the site, and patients will be asked to put on a fresh surgical mask provided by staff to either replace or put on over their existing mask.
“It’s very important to us to make sure that there’s no COVID spread here on site,” Wilson, the chief operating officer of CIC Health, said.
After checking in, patient will then line up on the concourse while they wait to be called to vaccination stations.
Mindful of the winter weather, both Red Sox and CIC Health officials insisted that they organized the appointment process to avoid outdoor waits. While they plan to stay open and honor appointments during inclement weather like snow, staff will notify individuals to cancel and reschedule their appointments if conditions become unsafe.
When a station opens, patients will be ushered up the concourse (staff will also have wheelchairs available) to a row of tables near the ballpark’s third baseline Sam Adams bar, where staff in protective gear administer the actual shots. Currently, Fenway is administering the vaccine developed by Pfizer.
CIC Health staff say that process of getting the vaccine itself takes roughly five minutes.
Patients will then be taken to an adjacent observation area for 15 minutes (or 30 minutes for some patients) to be monitored in case they have any immediate reactions to the vaccine. It’s during that time that staff will come around and help them schedule their second booster shot for roughly 21 days later.
Once patients have finished their time in the observation area, the site also offers several enclosed lookouts with a view of the field. The site also has buttons that read “I got vaccinated at Fenway Park.”
After a soft launch this past Thursday and Friday, staff are hoping that the photo opportunities and buttons serve as a tool to encourage other residents to get the vaccine, amid evidence that around a quarter of Americans are hesitant about the shots.
“It’s pretty surreal,” Wilson said. “Our goal is to get everybody vaccinated here, so we can get back to play as soon as possible.”
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