Huge local donation to boost Augusta-area vaccination efforts

Published: Feb. 3, 2021 at 6:21 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A building owned by Augusta National will now be the hub for Augusta University’s vaccination efforts moving forward.

And AU plans to use it indefinitely. There’s plenty of parking and room inside to vaccinate thousands in the coming months.

Today, the old sign is already down. Tomorrow, the new clinic sign will go up.

“It really is an ideal facility for conducting a mass vaccination site like this,” said Dr. Phillip Coule, AU’s chief medical officer.

But he says it wouldn’t have been possible without $2 million dollars from Augusta National and the Community Foundation.

“Although the vaccine may be free from the federal government, all of those other aspects aren’t. This donation will help to cover a lot of those expenses,” he said.

AU hopes to ramp up vaccinations to thousands a day at this new location, all depending on vaccine supply. But officials say their efficiency and this location could help them get more vaccine over time.

AU vaccinated its first several hundred patients in Aiken County this morning.

“Very excited, I’m still excited. We’ve been waiting for this a long time,” Edna Mundy said.

Mundy, who is 80 years old, said she signed up for her vaccination after learning about the Aiken County clinic on News 12.

Ralph Hodgson also got vaccinated there. And he says it took him five minutes to get signed up.

“I think by the time I stepped outside, to the time I came in the gym, it was probably less than 20 minutes,” he said.

But AU says everything was quite perfect.

“This morning, there was a small computer scheduling issue that opened up too many slots for today. Ultimately, it was going to create a poor experience,” Dr. Joshua Wyche with AU said.

So, AU moved some appointments to Friday, so anyone who signed up will still get vaccinated.

The monetary donation will help AU and the Department of Public Health expand their efforts to include a mobile vaccine unit for those who don’t have transportation.

“We will really only be limited by the amount of vaccine that we will be able to get allocated to us,” Dr. Coule said.

As more of these vaccination sites open, AU is stressing the need for everyone to sign up and do not show up without an appointment.

They also ask that you only show up at your scheduled time. You don’t need to be there more than 15 minutes early.

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