Even a looming snowstorm couldn’t dampen the spirits of staff volunteering and patients lining up during the first day of the Massachusetts General Hospital COVID-19 public vaccination clinic for patients on February 1.
Brian Guck, of Boston, was one of the first to receive his vaccine under the Bulfinch tent. “I was flabbergasted with how easy it was to sign up,” says Guck. “For me, it was just a pleasant and uplifting experience.”
The hospital is on track to vaccinate more than 2,300 patients age 75 and older this week, among the roughly 12,000 expected to receive their first doses across the Mass General Brigham system. Eligible patients were selected and contacted at random via e-mail, with a special focus on those living in communities hardest hit by the pandemic. From there, patients were asked to schedule appointments through the Patient Gateway web portal.
“Choosing the time and location was logical and easy,” says Elaine Denniston, of Dorchester.
“I would bet it was only a couple of minutes from receiving the invitation to actually getting an appointment,” says retired cardiologist Gerald Angoff, MD, of Charlestown. “The instructions were smooth, intuitive and gave me a big smile.”
The choreography of the patient clinic was made possible by the more than 2,000 Mass General employees who volunteered their time in the coming weeks and months. The delicate dance of escorting distanced and masked patients from check-in, to vaccination stations, to a safe exit was repeated throughout the clinic day.
Patients left with vaccination cards in hand and appointments for the second dose of the vaccine. “Scheduling the follow-up appointment before leaving the tent was genius,” says Denniston. “I had a little arm soreness from the vaccine on Monday night, but I was able to get up the next morning and do a little shoveling.”