Northern Light Inland Hospital is expanding its mass-vaccination program site on campus at Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield. Beginning Saturday, the hospital expects to be able to accommodate up to 1,000 people each clinic day. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

FAIRFIELD —  Northern Light Inland Hospital is expanding its COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Kennebec Valley Community College on Western Avenue, expecting to vaccinate about 1,000 people 60 and older starting Saturday.

More vaccine has become available to enable the expansion, but the number of vaccinations to be administered going forward will depend on the vaccine allotment from the state each week, according to Inland officials.

Inland started its vaccination clinic Jan. 26 at the gym/event center at KVCC and, up until now, had been administering 300 to 400 doses per week over two or three days, according to Rick Barry, a registered nurse and vice president of nursing and patient care services at Inland. So far, Inland has administered 1,520 total doses of the Moderna vaccine, including 1,043 first and 477 second doses.

Barry led a tour Friday of the vaccination site at KVCC with Inland President Terri Vieira and Kevin Casey, KVCC’s dean of technology, who also is the college’s chief security officer. Sara Barry, Inland’s director of marketing and communications, and Kathy Jason, a member of the marketing team, also were on hand.

“We’re really excited about the fact that we’re able to start doing a much larger clinic,” Vieira said.

Rick Barry said 12 vaccinators on Saturday are expected to vaccinate 144 people an hour starting at 8 a.m.  Eighty to 90 staff and volunteers will assist at the clinic, according to Barry.

“This would not be possible without KVCC,” he said. “They’ve been such a phenomenal partner.”

Northern Light is expanding its vaccination site on the campus at Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield and will dispense up to 1,000 COVID-19 vaccines on Saturday. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

KVCC’s Casey said that, as a community college, KVCC exists to serve the people in the region and always is looking for other ways to be engaged.

“This is a great opportunity for us to help us achieve our missions as well,” he said.

Casey noted that the KVCC location is convenient as it is just off Interstate 95, and a lot of classes are being held online during the pandemic so parking is not an issue.

Rick Barry said reaction to the clinic has been positive.

“I can say without a doubt that every single person that comes in is happy that they’re getting the vaccine,” he said.

GETTING VACCINATED

People must be registered to get vaccinated Saturday — the clinic does not accept walk-ins. They will enter the campus on Western Avenue and be directed to park before going into the building.

Those who require a walker, wheelchair, cane or other aid are asked to bring them. If they require someone to assist them, they may come accompanied, or receive help at the clinic.

People to be vaccinated must bring a valid ID with proof of age and proof that they live in Maine. Vieira said some people have driven to the clinic in vehicles with Florida license plates, for instance, and they are asked to show proof of residence, such as a property tax bill or electric bill. Insurance cards are not required. Officials ask that patients not come too early, but closer to their appointment times. They should wear a short-sleeved shirt which will enable them to get through the process faster.

Rick Barry, left, vice president of nursing and patient care at Northern Light Inland Hospital in Waterville; Inland President Terri Vieira; and Kevin Casey, KVCC dean of technology and chief security officer, present information on the expansion of Inland’s COVID-19 vaccination program Friday at the KVCC campus in Fairfield. Inland Hospital photo

People also must wear a mask, and once inside, they will be screened for temperature, asked several questions, and given a hospital-grade mask to place over the one they are wearing.

They will be directed to various stations to ensure they are registered and eventually will be directed to one of three classrooms where they will receive their vaccinations.

“Our goal, from the time the person enters to the time they leave, is under 30 minutes,” Rick Barry said.

After being vaccinated, people will be directed to a waiting station where they sit and are observed for possible reactions, though Vieira said no one at the clinic so far has experienced significant side effects from the vaccine.

Sara Barry issued a news release earlier Friday that says Inland is following Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention guidelines as to who should receive the vaccine. Currently those 60 and older are eligible to be vaccinated and appointments are required.

Vieira said in the release that everyone has been waiting for the day the clinic would be expanded.

“More vaccine supply means more people can be vaccinated, and now with people 60 and older eligible for the shot, we know we will be busy,” Vieira said. “We appreciate that our community has been anxious, and we are eager to expand our clinic so we can protect more and more people. KVCC has been instrumental in helping us make this clinic a success, not to mention the dozens and dozens of staff and volunteers making it all happen.”

Richard Hopper, president of KVCC, said the college is profoundly grateful for the partnership with Inland that makes the clinic possible.

A Kennebec Valley Community College security officer on Friday applies a 6-feet distancing marker to the floor of the facility where Inland Hospital is expanding its vaccination program at the Fairfield campus. The hospital plans to dispense up to 1,000 vaccines each clinic day, starting Saturday.  Inland Hospital photo

“I want to personally thank the KVCC information technology and security staff as well as faculty and student volunteers who have joined in this historic effort,” he said.

KVCC nursing faculty and students are volunteering for the effort, according to Marcia Parker, chairperson of the KVCC nursing program.

“We are so excited to play a role in Inland’s vaccination clinics,” she said.

Parker noted that student participation is not part of their required clinical hours.

“It is still a wonderful opportunity to help protect the health of the people in our community and get more real-world nursing experience,” she said.

Those wanting to schedule an appointment may visit covid.northernlighthealth.org/publicvaccine or call 207-204-8551. Appointment slots are updated every Monday and Wednesday at 2 p.m. after officials learn how much vaccine will be received.

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