As Fenway Park prepares to welcome back players, coaches, and a limited number of fans next month for the start of the new baseball season, the home of the Red Sox will be saying goodbye to the patients who have been churning through the turnstiles of the iconic ballpark since early February for more than peanuts and Cracker Jacks.
More than 25,000 shots of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered at the park in recent weeks, and officials said that by the end of this month they expect that more than 55,000 vaccinations will have been completed under the grandstands.
But Gov. Baker said last Thursday that by the time the first pitch of the new season is thrown on April 1, all vaccination efforts at one of the state’s seven mass vaccination sites will have been relocated not far away, to the Hynes Convention Center in the Back Bay.
The Hynes will open on March 18, the governor said, and Fenway will take its last patient on March 27, providing some overlap. Those scheduled for a second dose at Fenway after the park closes will have their appointments honored at the convention center.
“The fundamental purpose of Fenway Park is to provide a place for the Red Sox to practice and play baseball ... ,” Baker said, thanking the team and CIC Health for turning the park into a successful vaccination site.
He added, “The Hynes will also be able to scale up to a significantly larger number without the distraction that would come with being part of a ballpark that is actually active.”
Following Baker’s announcement the week before that he would allow 12 percent capacity, or about 4,500 fans at Fenway, to return to large venues later this month, the Red Sox said they were “fully committed to supporting the state’s vaccination program and expect Fenway Park to continue to operate as a mass vaccination site beyond the start of the regular season.”
The governor, however, said that the return of player and team personnel to the park for both games and practices, the confusion it could create for vaccine patients, and the availability of the Hynes — which Baker has proposed to sell off as a state asset — made the transition to the Hynes a sensible thing to do.
About 1,500 shots a day have been administered continually at Fenway, and the Hynes is projected to ramp up to that number this month.