Mass Vaccination Sites for Covid-19 Are Back

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High-volume vaccine clinics reopen during Omicron surge to reach children and deliver more boosters

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Several states last summer largely phased out vaccination sites and moved to smaller, more targeted vaccination efforts after demand plummeted among adults eligible to receive their first shots.

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“Going into the summer, we started to have a little bit of hope,” said Rachel Seiber, a member of the Warren County Board of Supervisors in New York who pushed to reopen a clinic in a former Sears store there.

Officials say they are expanding capacity again to provide booster shots and reach children who have recently become eligible for vaccines.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of Americans age 5 or older who are eligible to be vaccinated, 66.3% are fully vaccinated. About 38% of fully vaccinated adults have received booster shots.

Some vaccination sites are also offering COVID-19 testing.

Officials running mass vaccination sites say they expect to reach some of the 27% of adults who haven’t been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to CDC data. However, a recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that interest in unvaccinated adults did not increase during the Omicron growth.

Officials say traffic at the revived large clinics has been fairly fast, though not as high as it was in the spring when millions of adults were getting their first shots.

After closing in July at a nearby mall, the state-led “Burlington County COVID-19 Vaccine Mega-Site” reopened in a large A.C. Moore store in New Jersey on November 30, and averaged 1,000 a day. are people. The health system is managing it. That’s up from about 200 people a day in early December; Between 50 and 100 adults are getting the Kovid-19 vaccine for the first time.

“In talking with people, it is clear that the Omicron version has concerned people,” said Phyllis Worrell, emergency preparedness coordinator for Virtua Health, which is running the site with the state and county.

Oregon state health official and epidemiologist Dean Sidlinger said Oregon was ramping up its high-volume vaccine clinics and expected to run 10 in the coming days, the largest of which could administer up to 2,000 or 3,000 shots. Is. The state is aiming to provide one million new booster shots to a population of 42 lakh by the end of this month.

“It’s kind of all hands on deck so that we can make sure that if someone is ready to get their vaccine – first dose, second dose, additional dose or booster dose – that we can have a fairly convenient site for them. where they can get it, so that it won’t be a hindrance to them,” said Dr. Sidlinger.

Pharmacies and healthcare clinics are still providing many vaccines, but this has also become stressful as eligibility for the shots has increased significantly, Dr. Saidlinger said. In upstate New York, where a new mass clinic recently reopened, county officials said they were hearing from smaller doctors’ offices that were overwhelmed with vaccine appointments.

The US recently received an average of about 1.1 million new doses a day, federal data show, including people receiving boosters.

Doctor. Sidlinger said there are challenges in restarting large-scale community vaccination efforts, including a COVID-19-related healthcare staff shortage, which is tying up the medical staff who participated in the big vaccine rollout in the past. .

To ease similar staffing pressure in Illinois, Governor JB Pritzker recently said he is sending personnel to local health departments to help conduct mass vaccination campaigns. In Rhode Island, the National Guard is operating on a large site that has just opened into a convention center.

The seven-day average for new cases in the US topped 600,000 for the first time on Thursday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The US has more than doubled the peak number of cases seen in last winter’s surge, even as testing issues make the numbers difficult to track.

Hospitalizations for confirmed or suspected Kovid-19 cases reached an average of 121,600 Fridays over seven days, according to data posted by the US Department of Health and Human Services. The numbers are increasing rapidly, but have not reached the peak of the pandemic of 137,510 on January 10, 2021.

Write Jennifer Levitz [email protected] . Feather

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