The state of Massachusetts has received approval for a FEMA mass vaccination site at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston.
The Hynes was already serving as a mass vaccination site, but the state said the partnership with FEMA is expected to bring an additional 6,000 federal doses daily to the facility, for a total of 7,000 doses a day when combined with the state's current allocation.
“Massachusetts is a national leader for vaccines and this additional support from the federal government will help to increase access and availability to some of our most disproportionately impacted communities,” Gov. Charlie Baker said in a statement. “We are grateful for the support from the Biden-Harris Administration for selecting Massachusetts to host one of these sites and for the support of our congressional delegation in applying for this program.”
The Community Vaccination Center program will be open to the public, with additional services available for the most disproportionately impacted communities in Suffolk County, starting March 31.
People interested in booking an appointment at the Hynes Convention Center vaccination site should continue to pre-register at vaccinesignup.mass.gov.
The state said there will be no disruption to the appointment process as a result of this federal expansion.
The state also said it will coordinate additional community outreach to assist vulnerable residents with sign-ups. Additionally, a portion of the federal doses will be designated for mobile units for areas of Suffolk County, including Boston, Chelsea and Revere. Additional details about that program are expected to be released soon.
The Hynes Community Vaccination Site will have interpreters available daily for residents speaking Spanish, Mandarin and Haitian/Creole, as well as the ability to use telephone translation with access to another 240 languages.
White House COVID Coordinator Jeff Zients on Friday announced Boston as one of three new federally partnered mass vaccination sites, alongside others coming to Newark, New Jersey and Norfolk, Virginia.
"Together, these three new sites are capable of administering 15,000 doses a day," he said at a press briefing.
The Hynes will shift from a "type 3 vaccination facility" to a "type 1 vaccination facility," according to the White House.
The location will be staffed mostly by the federal government, and Baker's office said the support staff would remain in place for eight weeks.
The Baker administration applied in February for a FEMA-partnered mass vaccination site. Members of the state's congressional delegation supported the push, writing to FEMA that month urging it to fulfill Baker's request.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said in a Friday statement that she is "delighted" by the agency's announcement.
"This program will provide the necessary resources and support to complement the ongoing efforts by the Commonwealth to prioritize disproportionately impacted communities that have greatly suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic," Warren said. "I will continue to fight with my partners in the delegation to make sure vaccines are made widely available and administered equitably."
CIC Health, which has been operating the mass vaccination site at the Hynes since it opened March 18, praised FEMA's announcement on Friday.
"That supply influx, which will begin on March 31, will significantly raise the daily vaccination capacity of CIC Health's operations at the Hynes to 7,000 doses per day," the company said. "We are extremely grateful for the additional vaccine supply and the corresponding complement of federal and state staff for the duration of eight weeks."
In addition to the Hynes, Massachusetts is operating six other mass vaccination sites: the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston, Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, the DoubleTree Hotel in Danvers, the Eastfield Mall in Springfield, the Natick Mall, and the former Circuit City in Dartmouth.
“Plenty of room in there,” said Don Archambault of Melrose. “It was like 90% empty in there, plenty of room for expansion.”
“It makes sense,” said Mario Taddeo Jr. of Dedham. “The Hynes Convention Center is massive.”
“The way to get shots into arms is to go out into the community,” said Dr. Lara Jirmanus, a family physician with a practice in Revere.
The Hynes was chosen by FEMA, in part, because of its accessibility to public transportation, but Jirmanus, who’s a fellow at the Harvard FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, said there’s been too much emphasis on larger vaccination sites, which too many people just can’t get to.
“Why not set up, for example, in the hardest hit communities? What if every polling site became a vaccine site?” Jirmanus said.
State House News Service contributed to this report.