BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Mahoning County Health Department is getting ready to open its mass vaccination clinic at the former Dillard’s inside the Southern Park Mall. But first, they’ll do a test run on Wednesday.
Set up is almost complete and in just two more days, hundreds of people will be heading to the site to receive their shots. Pretty soon, it will be thousands.
“We wanted to come out here and get a soft opening and just see how the clinic is going to flow and we can make some adjustments during that day or during that week if something isn’t working,” said Mahoning County health commissioner Ryan Tekac.
Governor Mike DeWine has yet to announce when the mass vaccination sites can get underway, but once he does, the former Dillard’s will be the permanent vaccination spot for the next eight to 10 weeks.
“When we’re operating at the Austintown Senior Center, people would come in and be in and out the door in 30 minutes. We want to take that process, triple it, replicate it and we still want that half-hour process from when you come in, vaccinate, wait and then out the door,” Tekac said.
People are asked to park near the doors facing Tinseltown and come in at the time of their scheduled appointment. Inside, you’ll go through the check-in process then head over to receive your first dose.
“We have different pods that are actually set up where we can vaccinate 20 to 22 people every five minutes. When we get into the large sites, we can go up to anywhere from 1,250 to potentially 1,600 vaccinations a day,” Tekac said.
This Wednesday, 820 people are scheduled to receive the Moderna vaccine. Appointments are full but more will be opening up for the following week.
“Starting the week of the 29th, it’s open to everyone. So they’ll open up for when that time comes depending on what vaccine they receive. They’ll set the age limit,” Tekac said.
Tekac said the mass vaccination site is expected to open the first week of April. He said it all depends on the amount of the vaccine the state gets. Once that time comes, they’re hoping to do two clinics a week, one on Fridays and one on Saturdays.
“We’ve been designed to be able to vaccinate large groups. We’ve always practiced this. We have exercises and we’ve done this in the past. This isn’t new to public health and this is what we’re excited about,” Tekac said.
Tekac said more appointments will be available soon. You can go to the Mahoning County Health Department’s website and use the AmorVax system, which lets you schedule the date and time of your appointment.
If you don’t have computer access, he said you can call the health department directly at 330-270-2855. They have people standing by to help you make an appointment.