coronavirus

More Become Eligible for Vaccine in Mass. Monday, Hynes Site Opens

Massachusetts residents 60 years and older and a new group of essential workers become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine Monday as the Hynes Convention Center officially opens as a mass vaccination site

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The Hynes Convention Center officially opens as the state's newest mass vaccination site in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood Monday as more people become eligible in Massachusetts.

After a soft launch last week, the Hynes officially opens Monday in a transition to replace the large-scale clinic at Fenway Park. The soft launch kicked off with capacity for 500 daily appointments. Capacity will ramp up to 1,000 over the next week and, ultimately, to nearly 9,000.

Starting Monday, the site will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week, with plans to extend weekday hours shortly thereafter. The Pfizer vaccine will be administered at the site, but that may change later contingent on the state's supply.

Also on Monday, residents at least 60 years old and a new group of essential workers can register for a vaccine appointment, including grocery store employees, retail and food service workers, convenience store workers, transit workers, public works and sanitation workers, utility workers and people in public health.

Those working in the court system, food pantry workers and volunteers, vaccine development workers and medical supply chain volunteers are also eligible.

All residents can preregister to book an appointment at a mass vaccination site at mass.gov/COVIDVaccine.

Massachusetts moves into Phase 4, Step 1 of its reopening plan, relaxed travel restrictions take effect and outdoor dining returns for most of Boston as well on Monday.

We got our first look inside Boston's Hynes Convention Center, which is set to become the largest mass vaccination site in Massachusetts as it ramps up operations and replaces Fenway Park.

Earlier this month, Gov. Charlie Baker announced that the mass vaccination site at Fenway Park would close March 27 and be replaced by the Hynes Convention Center.

Run by CIC Health, the Cambridge-based health tech company is handling the transition from Fenway as the Boston Red Sox prepare to start the 2021 season. The first home game is scheduled for April 1 against the Baltimore Orioles.

Eligibility for vaccination appointments will continue to follow the state’s eligibility timeline.

Some critics argue that the governor waited too long to prioritize the latest round of essential workers to get vaccinated.

“Food service workers probably should’ve been considered eligible from the start," Chrissie Connors of Boston said. "They’ve been the people at the front doing the work. I’ve super been appreciative of the people bagging my groceries.”

“If the food service workers were eligible earlier, the restaurants wouldn’t be in such tough shape," Jude Toner of Marblehead added.

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