BOSTON (WHDH) – Gillette Stadium, Fenway Park, and The Big E fairgrounds are among five massive vaccination sites for first responders that are slated to open later this month, in addition to 64 regional locations.

RELATED: Health experts say new coronavirus variant may already be circulating in Mass.

“Our top priority right now is getting our firefighters, our EMTs, and paramedics vaccinated,” Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts President Rich MacKinnon told 7NEWS. “We except the risk when we take this job that we may get injured, we get hurt. This is the first time that that risk is actually being brought home to many of our families.”

Phase one of the vaccination plan for first responders is expected to begin on Jan. 11.

Local boards of health will provide shots in larger communities, while regional vaccination sites will be set up in smaller communities to ensure firefighters, police officers, and ambulance personnel get vaccinated.

The state hopes to have a total of five mass vaccination sites open by Jan. 18.

As of New Year’s Eve, nearly 80,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccines had been administered in Massachusetts to mostly frontline health care workers and long-term care facility residents.

Danvers Fire Captain Jamie Shafner says he is glad first responders are next in line for the vaccine, especially with a more contagious virus variant expected to spread quickly in the first few months of 2021.

Two Danvers firefighters recently tested positive for COVID-19, forcing at least a quarter of the department into quarantine following contact tracing.

“We’re wearing masks, we’re keeping ourselves as distanced as possible but the nature of the business is we do spend time together,” Shafner said. “There is only so much we can do without a vaccine.”

Shafner says first responders are looking for the vaccine “sooner rather than later” because it’s their “best bet for protection.”

Gov. Charlie Baker is expected to announce the plan as early as Monday.

(Copyright (c) 2020 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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