District 2 Department of Public Health is phasing out its COVID-19 mass vaccination site at Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center and opening a new one at the University of North Georgia - Gainesville campus.
The new site will officially open tomorrow morning at UNG’s Hugh Mills Physical Education Complex. Doctor Zachary Taylor, Public Health Director for District 2 Public Health, said that once the transition is complete, healthcare workers will have the ability to vaccinate twice as many people at the new site.
“We’ve been vaccinating at the Chicopee Woods site, however it’s not large enough for us to vaccinate at full capacity like what the county needs,” said Taylor. “Once we get to full staffing, which we’ll probably have next week or the following week, we should be able to do about 2,000 doses a day.”
Taylor said that the new site will operate six days a week, allowing for 12,000 doses to be administered per week.
District 2 Public Health spokesman Dave Palmer said that anyone who has scheduled an appointment to get their second dose of the vaccine before April 12 will still get their vaccine at the Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center. Any appointments scheduled beyond that date will take place at the UNG site.
The UNG site was operated on a soft opening this afternoon. Just like the Chicopee Woods location, the new site requires an appointment ahead of time.
The new site was made possible through a partnership between the university, District 2 Department of Public Health, Hall County Government and the City of Gainesville.
Taylor said that officials chose UNG as a vaccine site because of its proximity to bus stops and amount of space.
“To be able to have this type of facility where they say, ‘yes, you can use this everyday’ and ‘yes, you could use it for several months’ is really a remarkable thing,” said Taylor.
He added that UNG students will be eligible to get a vaccine per the recent expansion of COVID-19 eligibility guidelines.
Haley McCrink, a nursing student at UNG who is helping administer vaccines, said that several of her fellow classmates are planning to get the vaccine on campus.
“A lot of the nursing students are planning on getting it because a lot of the hospitals are requiring us to have it now,” McCrink said. “I know a couple of people that have already had it, but most of them are planning on getting it.”
Outside of getting a vaccine, Taylor said that UNG students will have the opportunity to help at the new site; volunteers are needed to administer vaccines, direct outdoor traffic and direct people inside of the facility.
“There will be enormous opportunity for students who want to volunteer…we’d love to have them and introduce them to Public Health, as a matter of fact,” said Taylor.