COVID-19: Vaccination center opens at Mall
“We are excited about the opportunity to partner with WellSpan (health),” County Commissioners Chairman Dave Keller said of the new clinic. “This will provide easy access to our community and increase the availability of (COVID-19) vaccines for our residents.”
Franklin County provides the space and WellSpan provides the personnel, vaccine and supplies to run the clinic.
The goal is to get a large number of county residents vaccinated as quickly as possible, the co-leader of the vaccination team, Stephanie Andreozzi, said. That is, if they want the vaccine. It is not mandated by the state but instead a personal choice.
Center days and hours are Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. by appointment only. Residents make an appointment by calling the WellSpan COVID-19 Hotline at 1-855-851-3641; or registering at this link, Walk-ins won’t be accepted, Andreozzi said.
She said there are appointment openings at the Mall location both tomorrow and Saturday of this week.
Rabbit Transit is offering free rides to any community member needing transportation to and from their scheduled COVID-19 vaccination appointment. Those needing transportation should first make an appointment then call 1-800-632- 9063. 1-800-632- 9063 to schedule their ride.
The shots are free to all adults in the county 16 and over. Minors 16 and 17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, however.
The vaccination center follows WellSpan’s established pattern and protocols. The goal is to vaccinate as many residents as possible as quickly as possible. The large Burlington space provides plenty of room for social distancing. WellSpan has worked out a streamlined process, making it possible to take appointments every five minutes if there is demand for it.
Residents must enter the Mall at entrance 1 on the side facing Black Gap Road. A WellSpan “ambassador” greets individuals at the entrance and asks the standard Covid health questions. The ambassador then directs the individual to the entrance of the old Burlington Coat Factory.
WellSpan has a quick and efficient process set up to move residents through the vaccination process quickly. Residents can get in and out within 15-30 minutes.
Not reinventing the wheel
“We are not reinventing the wheel,” Andreozzi said. “We have developed a method (of delivering the vaccine) that is very efficient and effective.”
WellSpan has been vaccinating the public against COVID-19 since vaccinations opened for people over 65 and those with health problems in January. Even before that, the health care organization was vaccinating its own employees and others at risk since the Pfizer vaccine was first released.
The organization has administered over 260,000 doses since December across locations in South-Central Pennsylvania, 27,000 in Franklin County alone. WellSpan is currently administering over 2,000 doses daily here.
WellSpan has run vaccination clinics at Chambersburg and Waynesboro Hospitals since January.
“We saw a very significant response in January,” Andreozzi said.
Then demand slowed. The Waynesboro clinic shut down about three weeks ago because of reduced demand.
The Chambersburg Hospital clinic will be open another three weeks for second doses only.