SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – After a soft opening last week, a mass vaccination site at the Savannah Civic Center is officially open to the public.
Unlike another drive-thru site at Gulfstream Aerospace, this one lets people walk up to get their shots of the Moderna vaccine. Organizers hope to vaccinate up to 1,200 people each day.
The site was made possible by a partnership between the City of Savannah and several local groups, including Savannah Technical College, Hospice Savannah and Gulfstream.
Hospice Savannah is coordinating the effort and says this is the second time the non-profit has relocated to a larger venue to meet a community need for vaccines.
“We’ve been doing this since the middle of January and we’ve gotten the process down to a science,” explained Hospice Savannah Inpatient Unit Clinical Manager Tiffany Fordham. “We know exactly how to process a large group of people in a short amount of time, so even without an appointment you’re looking at [total visit of] 20-30 minutes.”
When News 3 was at the site in the early afternoon, there was a short line. One man says he waited in line for just three minutes.
“We’re getting a good flow of walk-ins, but we’re just not seeing the 1,200 that we thought we were going to see that the community needed,” said Fordham.
If the demand picks up, Savannah Technical College’s vice president of academic affairs says 15 freshman nursing students from the Liberty and Savannah campuses are in the Civic Center to help.
She says they learned how to administer the shots in their classes.
“They are trained not only on how to administer the vaccine, but also how to interact with the public and help them work through the paperwork,” said Ashley Morris.
The location of the site also makes it easier for people who use public transportation. The Civic Center is close to several bus stops and it is easier for people who live downtown.
Hospice Savannah is working with Old Savannah City Mission to bus in people who are homeless.
“There’s probably not any excuse that I can hear to not get vaccinated at this point because we’ve done a lot of work to make sure that anyone who wants the vaccine who is of age can get it,” said Fordham.
The vaccination site is open on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. On other days of the week, the Civic Center will continue operating as a coronavirus testing facility.
If you would like to make a vaccination appointment to speed up your process, appointments are available online here.