Beginning last year, Shenandoah administrators had a vision to administer vaccinations for Covid-19 on a mass scale.
“I knew we could do it, I just never thought we could do it this quickly,” said Mitch Moore, senior vice president.
Shenandoah University’s Wilkins Athletics & Events Center has been transformed into a mass-vaccination clinic that distributes up to 2,500 shots a day. That’s more than the number of undergraduate students enrolled at Shenandoah University.
The vaccination clinic first opened on Jan. 13, 2021. As of March 7, Shenandoah, in partnership with Valley Health and Lord Fairfax Health District, has administered over 39,000 doses of the vaccine, including Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson.
“We’re a one-stop shop when it comes to vaccines,” Moore said.
Volunteers from Shenandoah and Valley Health are currently vaccinating individuals in the 1b category. This includes frontline essential workers, people aged 65 and over, and people 16-64 with underlying medical conditions. The clinic is open most days of the week, depending on the vaccine supply, and vaccines are administered by appointment only.
Shenandoah intends to give everyone a unique and positive experience while getting their vaccine, Moore said. Sports are still practicing in the event center/vaccination clinic, and after getting their shot, people can watch students practice while they wait for 15 minutes. Moore said sports give the clinic a “sense of normalcy.”
Kelly Reifsteck, of Crozet, had just gotten her first shot of Pfizer on Feb. 26.
“It was such a breeze, there was no line,” Reifsteck said. “I think I was vaccinated within three minutes of getting in the door.”
Population and Community Health Officer for Valley Health Jeff Feit had a vision to get things started. The first 7,000 to 8,000 doses of vaccines were given on the Valley Health campus before moving to the university for a bigger clinic.
“This is an extraordinary community effort that is really going as well as it is anywhere in the state,” said Feit.
There is no geographic limit for the clinic, but about 80% of people coming to get vaccinated are from the Lord Fairfax Health District, according to Feit. Lord Fairfax Health District encompasses the City of Winchester and the counties of Clarke, Frederick, Page, Shenandoah, and Warren.
Denise Simmons, of Frederick County, appreciated the extra steps Shenandoah took to make the experience as easy as possible.
“It’s very nice to have the golf carts out there for people,” she said. “And I think this is a nice little assembly line process here.” Volunteers drive the golf carts from the parking lot to the entrance of the building, and back to the parking lot. There are also volunteers with wheelchairs to assist individuals around the track in the building.
Over 300 volunteers assist across the clinic, from working check-in to vaccinating individuals.