The vaccine clinic at Russell Auditorium in Dorchester was the hottest place in town on Monday for young people.
That’s where the precious coronavirus vaccines were administered to a few lucky people 18 years and older, weeks before Massachusetts extends age eligibility to the general public.
Young people from Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan rushed to the clinic after seeing on social media that vaccines were being offered to those living or working in those three Boston neighborhoods, which have been hit hard by the virus.
The state’s age eligibility rules are for people over the age of 55 and will be expanded to over 18 in two weeks. But before that happens on April 19, some young people were simply able to walk into the Dorchester clinic without an appointment and get an injection.
When the Herald arrived Monday afternoon, there was a long line of young people waiting in the parking lot.
Shayna Sheehan, a 24-year-old Dorchester resident, left the clinic with a big smile.
“I’m a resident of Dorchester and they offered it free if you were over 18 so it was great to be a part of it,” Sheehan said outside the clinic on Talbot Avenue after receiving the vaccine.
Rumors on social media prompted residents to rush to the clinic, which is a partnership between Boston Medical Center and Codman Square Health Center.
Another resident under the age of 55 said she saw on a neighborhood Facebook group that they were giving the vaccine to any local resident or worker.
“So we hurried down,” said the resident, who declined to be named. “And now we don’t have to wait a couple more weeks.”
But don’t change your plans today. It looks like people 18 and older in those neighborhoods will have to be patient until April 19.
Boston Medical Center in a statement Monday night said the clinic had stopped vaccinating people 18 and older.
“Due to a mistake made in the clinic’s pre-registration process, the community vaccination clinic run by Boston Medical Center and local partners at Russell Auditorium began vaccinating community residents 18 and older,” said Boston Medical. Center.
“The clinic has stopped vaccinating that age group, and we adhere to state guidelines prior to full eligibility later this month,” the hospital added.
A spokesman for the state Department of Public Health earlier in the day told the Herald that the agency was “not aware of any special arrangements / permits for this site to exceed current eligibility rules.”
By Monday night, DPH had contacted Boston Medical Center and the state agency was investigating the matter.
Spokespersons for the City of Boston and the Boston Public Health Commission referred to Boston Medical Center and the organizations that run the vaccination site.
There were no Boston Medical Center publications advertising the clinic for people 18 and older.
The state on Monday extended eligibility for the vaccine to people 55 and older and those with a specific medical condition. Certain essential workers have been qualified for weeks.