WVU Medicine to set up at former Sears site at mall
MORGANTOWN — WVU Medicine is setting up a new COVID-19 vaccine clinic in the former Sears store at the Morgantown Mall. It will start accepting West Virginia residents Thursday.
The free clinic will be open the those age 70 and up for now. It will be appointment-only, scheduled either online or by phone.
WVUM President and CEO Albert Wright said, “We are building the infrastructure to do up to 4,000 vaccines a day.”
That number will be supply-dependent, he emphasized. During its first two days in operation – Thursday and Friday – he hopes to vaccinate more than 500 per day.
“The state of West Virginia and Gov. Justice in particular have done a very good job of getting the vaccine out quickly to nursing homes, to hospital front-line workers,” and more, he said.
WVUM is working with the governor’s office to be one of the super-hubs around the state. There’s not enough vaccine right now, but they want to have the infrastructure in place when it is available.
As the clinic currently has a limited number of vaccines, WVUM said, patients who are currently eligible – those 70 and older – must first schedule an appointment online at www.wvumedicine.org/vaccine.
While online scheduling is preferred, WVUM said, patients may also call 833-795-SHOT (833-795-7468) from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Appointment availability is based entirely on vaccine supplies with allotments determined by the state and federal governments, WVUM said. There will be no walk-in appointments, and individuals without an appointment will not be permitted to enter the clinic.
People do not have to be WVU Medicine patients to schedule appointments online.
Wright said WVUM started working over the weekend to convert the old Sears store to a large-scale vaccination clinic that can do up to 4,000 vaccines a day.
“We’ve come to the realization.” he said, “the only way we’re going to get out of COVID, we believe, is to vaccinate our way out of it.” As the largest health care system in the state, WVUM wants to do its part “to vaccinate as many people as we can as soon as we can.”
WVUM has reassigned 50 employees to this project, he said. Because vaccine supplies are limited, he urges people to be patient for now.
WVU Medicine expects to host the clinic on an on-going basis starting early next week. However, hours of operation will likely vary based on availability of vaccine, WVUM said.
The clinic will have 30 vaccination stations set up, Wright said. Vaccines are allotted by state and the clinic will be for West Virginia residents only. Once scheduled, patients must bring a valid, state-issued West Virginia driver’s license or identification card. Alternatively, patients may present a valid and unexpired U.S. passport or U.S. passport card with a recent utility bill that bears a West Virginia address.
Residents will enter through an exterior door (not through the mall entrance; a sign will be hanging over the entry door). They’ll pass through a large checkpoint area, then register and be sent to a vaccine station. Once vaccinated, they will go to another station to be monitored for 10-15 minutes for any possible reactions.
Based on the governor’s orders, Wright said, the vaccines will be offered only to those 70 and up. “As soon as we can lower it down to whatever the state recommendations are – we’re going to follow whatever the governor says.”
Wright offered a sense of scale of the operation by noting that all of WVU Medicine around the state handles about 11,000 outpatient visits per day; this will be more than a third of that at just one site.
Patients must wear a protective mask, and those who may need assistance from family members or friends are permitted to bring one individual into the clinic during the vaccination, WVUM said. They, too, must be masked. All patients, and anyone accompanying them, will be asked standard screening questions to determine if they have possibly been exposed to COVID-19.
Those who currently have COVID-19 will not be able to get the vaccine. If you believe you have COVID-19 and have symptoms consistent with the disease, you should contact your primary care provider and obtain a COVID-19 test, WVUM said,
One of the two FDA-approved vaccines will be administered at the clinic – either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Patients who schedule an appointment at the vaccine clinic will receive the vaccine that is available that day.
Several other WVU Medicine hospitals, in partnership with local health departments, are offering similar vaccine clinics, WVUM said. Patients are encouraged to schedule an appointment at the clinic in their local community.
Wright said WVUM is not requesting any state or federal money for running this free clinic. “We just want to help be part of the solution, working directly with the governor to vaccinate our way out of COVID here in West Virginia.”
Tweet David Beard@dbeardtdp Email email@example.com