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First 'Mega Site' COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic In West Virginia Opens In Morgantown

Covid-19 vaccine site
Courtesy of WVU Medicine
West Virginia University Medicine has repurposed a defunct Sears store in a Morgantown, WV mall. It is the site of a new Covid-19 vaccination clinic.

A Morgantown clinic operated by West Virginia University Medicine hopes to immunize 26,000 people for COVID-19 a week. That is, once enough doses are available.

The clinic sits in the former Sears department store in the Morgantown Mall. That means there’s plenty of space to get things done and social distance.

By the end of Friday, 1,000 people are expected to have been vaccinated.

WVU Medicine, the largest healthcare provider in the state, brought this clinic online quickly.

“The team here has really done yeoman's work. And we've really stood this in a matter of a week,” said WVU Medicine’s chief pharmacy officer Dr. Todd Karpinski.

He said the clinic’s size and staff will be able to vaccinate at an unprecedented rate.

While local health departments have been working round the clock to arrange weekly clinics, WVU Medicine will supplement the need in West Virginia.

Covid-19 vaccine site Morgantown
Courtesy of WVU Medicine
With plenty of elbow room, a new vaccination site in Morgantown, WV could immunize 4,000 people a day.

The space will be set for 30 people or so to receive a shot at one time. Many more will be coming in to get registered or monitored by nurses before going home. Karpinski says there’s more than 100 staffers on site and taking calls remotely.

Karpinski says the clinic will be starting slow, but he hopes it’ll eventually be able to operate at full capacity: administering 4,000 doses a day, six days a week.

Whether that becomes a reality is up in the air. Echoing state officials, Karpinski says it all comes down to supply.

“If I got a call from, you know, the state saying ‘Hey, Todd, we can send you 30,000 vaccines for next week to do the community,’ we would be ready,” he said.

For now, the Morgantown clinic will open on an ongoing basis as vaccines are made available.

So far more than 3,000 people are waitlisted to get their first dose in Morgantown.

Any West Virginian 65 or older can sign up for the waitlist online.

Appalachia Health News Reporter, jleffler@wvpublic.org, 502-377-0438, @june_leffler

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