Large-scale COVID-19 vaccine clinic coming to Merced

Organizers say appointments will soon be available on the Merced County Health Department's website.
MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- Merced County seniors will soon have a new option to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Thousands of additional vaccine doses will be given out to first-time patients next week, in a new large-scale vaccination clinic.

"We want to get this community up and running and we want to get Merced College up and running," said Jill Cunningham, spokesperson for Merced Community College.

Merced Community College's gymnasium will serve as the site where about 2,500 first dose Pfizer vaccines will be administered. Clinics will take place three days next week and two days the following week.

"We don't have students on site right now so we are able to accommodate," said Cunningham.

The highly coveted doses are excess vaccine supply provided by Dignity Health and UC Merced, which will provide seniors more access to vaccinations that have been a struggle to secure in many California counties.

"The goal is as soon as we get it, we want to be able to use it," said Chuck Kassis, the president of Dignity Health Mercy Medical Center. "So that we can try to press as many people with the vaccine that want it."

Organizers say the large-scale clinic will be made possible by helping hands from the Allied Health Nursing Department at Merced College.

"Not only do we have the space, but we have the nurses," said Cunningham.

Students and faculty from the college's nursing department will volunteer their time to get vaccines in the arms of seniors.

"To be able to get to any type of normalcy, we need to be part of that solution," said Kitty Cazares, RN Program Director.

Health officials say more doses have already been allocated to provide the same seniors with a second dose in March.

"Our hope is that this is so successful and so turnkey, that we do it so well," said Cunningham. "And we can continue to keep vaccinating our community for as many months as we are needed."

Organizers say appointments will soon be available on the Merced County Health Department's website. In the meantime, you can sign up to be notified with vaccine updates on the county's website now.
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