The Competition Gym in the Wellness Center will open as a large-scale vaccination site to help ramp up the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in the Worcester area. City Manager Ed Augustus made the announcement at his weekly COVID-19 briefing, which was held in the Wellness Center on Thursday, Feb. 4.
“The Wellness Center is a perfect location. Obviously, it’s an amazing just-a-few-years-old facility that will help accommodate the many thousands of people who will cycle through here through each eligible phase,” said Augustus at the briefing.
President Barry Maloney said giving back to the community was an important reason for offering to host the vaccination site. “When we were putting together the proposals to build this particular building and gain funding from the state, this community stood with us and said this was an important project for the university and for the city. In part, this is why I was so steadfastly focused in offering this facility to help our community and our neighbors.”
The site is scheduled to open on Tuesday, Feb. 16, and will operate Tuesdays through Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., at least until the end of June. Commonwealth Medicine, the health care consulting and operations division of UMass Medical School, is providing logistics support, project management, and volunteer staffing support. Saint Vincent Hospital will serve as the clinical partner, providing daily clinical and operational leadership at the site. Additionally, numerous members of the Saint Vincent team will assist Commonwealth Medicine’s volunteer corps in staffing the site in both clinical and non-clinical roles.
Those eligible to receive the vaccine can make appointments using the statewide reservation portal: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-vaccination-locations.
“As our current strategic plan indicates, we are a ‘public institution that takes its public mission seriously,’ said Maloney in a message to campus shortly before the briefing. “Giving back to the region—the institution as engaged citizen, if you will—is part of our DNA. I am pleased we are able to partner with the city, the state, Commonwealth Medicine, and Saint Vincent Hospital to bring a large-scale vaccination site to our city.”
Initial expectations are that 1,000 people per day will be vaccinated at this new site, with that number possibly growing to 2,000 per day, depending on vaccine availability.
In the photo: President Maloney speaks at the city’s COVID-19 briefing on Thursday, Feb. 4., with, at far left, Commonwealth Medicine Executive Vice Chancellor Lisa Colombo ’87, D.N.P, and Mayor Joseph M. Petty.
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