Shenandoah University kicks off COVID-19 vaccination event

shenandoah university covid-19

Shenandoah University President Tracy Fitzsimmons talks with a woman at an event at Wilkins Athletics and Events Center promoting the joint effort between Shenandoah University and Valley Health to start the COVID-19 vaccination process. Photo courtesy Shenandoah University.

Approximately 300 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered at the James R. Wilkins Jr. Athletics & Events Center at Shenandoah University on Tuesday during a pilot launch of a regional mass-vaccination campaign.

Shenandoah is partnering with Valley Health and the Lord Fairfax Health District to serve as a mass-vaccination site for the surrounding health region and to help administer the vaccine and aid in its distribution.

A Tuesday press conference kicked off the rollout. Then, over the course of the following three hours, approximately 300 members of the community in Group 1B received the first of two vaccination shots. They will receive the second dose in the coming weeks.

“We are so excited to be opening up our Wilkins Athletics & Events Center today for this extraordinary effort and I’m so proud of our faculty, staff and students who are aiding in this historic endeavor,” said President Tracy Fitzsimmons, Ph.D. “It is through our long-standing partnership with Valley Health and the Lord Fairfax Health District that we are able to help our local and regional community in overcoming this public health crisis. Every shot in an arm is a life saved, and all of us at SU are honored to be a small part of this large-scale vaccine clinic.”

The events center will open up to the full community in Group 1B for vaccination starting Wednesday, Jan. 13. Participants should register at valleyhealthlink.com/c19vaccinations. 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 move to the university campus coincides with Virginia’s plan to move into Phase 1B of vaccinations, which includes select groups such as K-12 teachers, first responders and those over 75.

“Over the last few 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 know that vaccinating the most vulnerable members of our community is the best way to save lives and are honored to be a part of it.”

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.


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