Shenandoah Athletics & Events Center to serve as COVID-19 vaccination site
Shenandoah University’s James R. Wilkins, Jr. Athletics & Events Center will serve as the COVID-19 mass-vaccination site in the Winchester/Frederick County area in collaboration with Valley Health and the Lord Fairfax Health District.
The move to the university campus coincides with Virginia’s plan to move into Phase 1B of vaccinations, which includes select groups such as teachers, first responders and those over 75.
The 77,000-square-foot indoor athletic facility is the largest space within 70 miles of Winchester. It serves the university’s 22 athletics teams, the entire university community, and the local and regional communities. It also serves as the location for the university’s saliva-based surveillance testing program.
“Our faculty, staff and health professions students are honored to be a part of the response to this community health crisis through our longstanding partnership with Valley Health and the Lord Fairfax Health District,” said Shenandoah University President Tracy Fitzsimmons, Ph.D. “We all have a role in advancing the health of our most vulnerable community members, our neighbors, and our families and we are proud to serve the community in this essential role.”
Shenandoah faculty and staff will continue to aid in the local vaccination rollout and will be on-site to help administer the vaccine. In December, several members of the university community not only administered the vaccine, but also served as health-care observers to watch for side effects and performed clerical and data entry duties.
The athletics center will be open for about 12 hours each day for vaccinations. Officials expect to administer at least 1,200 to 1,500 COVID-19 vaccine doses each day at Shenandoah.
The athletics and events center is currently one of four regional vaccination sites, or pods, chosen by Valley Health and the Lord Fairfax Health District and the only one located in the Winchester and Frederick County area.
“Over the last three weeks we have vaccinated nearly 6,000 healthcare workers and community providers, and are eager to get vaccine into more arms within our community,” said Jeffrey Feit, MD, Vice President-Population Health at Valley Health. “Our caregivers are doing a remarkable job treating ever-higher numbers of COVID-19 patients,but it is stressful and unsustainable. We are hopeful that widespread acceptance of this safe and effective vaccine will bring caseloads under control and allow us to get back to normal life.”
The Virginia Department of Health expects its registration system will go live on Monday, Jan. 11. Specifics about dates, times, locations and registration information for groups in 1B will be available then.
Community members should visit valleyhealthlink.com for more information.