Yale’s COVID-19 vaccination program underway
The Yale COVID-19 Vaccination Program, based at the Lanman Center in Payne Whitney Gymnasium, is completing its first phase of inoculations and gearing up for the next wave with guidance from the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH).
Yale Health, the primary health care provider for students, faculty, staff, and their families, reconfigured Lanman, which was converted into an emergency field hospital during the pandemic’s early days, into a vaccination center in December. The shift came as COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer gained final approvals for use in the United States.
The first vaccination clinics began on Dec. 30, with additional clinics held on Dec. 31, Jan. 2, and Jan. 6-7. Another clinic is scheduled for Jan. 14.
“I’m happy and grateful that we are able to fill this space with vaccinations, which inspires a feeling of hope, rather than as a field hospital,” said Nanci Fortgang, chief clinical operations officer for Yale Health. “This is a very safe place to get your vaccinations.”
Yale is administering both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
The first wave of people receiving a vaccine — during what has been designated Phase 1A by DPH — includes patient-facing health care workers and long-term care facility residents. Yale Health invited all individuals eligible to receive vaccinations during Phase 1A to schedule their first inoculation via the MyChart electronic medical records system. The Pfizer vaccine requires a second shot after 21 days and the Moderna vaccine requires a second shot after 28 days.
The state is finalizing its plan for who will be next to receive the vaccines during Phase 1B. Yale Health will invite people who are part of Phase 1B to schedule a vaccination via MyChart.
“Many members of the Yale community have asked how they will know when they are eligible to be vaccinated,” said Dr. Stephanie Spangler, vice provost for health affairs and academic integrity, and the university’s COVID-19 coordinator. “The Yale program is closely tracking state guidance and maintaining rosters of Yale community members in order to be ready to send invitations as soon as community members become eligible under each of the upcoming phases.”
Spangler said the university is also working with state officials to explore ways that Yale might provide vaccinations to people who are members of the broader community.
At the Lanman Center, there are 20 vaccination stations, each staffed by a nurse trained in administering the COVID-19 shots.
To increase efficiency and safety, the center is also staffed with nurses who act as “diluters,” drawing up doses of vaccines and distributing them to the nursing stations. There is also a rapid response team of three nurses and a clinician on hand during every vaccination session.
Individuals who receive the vaccine at Lanman are directed to wait 15 to 30 minutes in a monitoring area to allow medical staff to check for any adverse reactions to the inoculation.
Fortgang highlighted the contributions of Cheryl Carden, clinical operations leader, and Bryan Cretella, Yale Health director of pharmacy, for their contributions in successfully launching the vaccination program.
As the program moves forward, Yale Health officials stressed the importance of getting as many people vaccinated against COVID-19 as possible.
“A vaccination benefits everyone — the individual, their loved ones, people who have not yet had an opportunity for vaccination, and the entire community,” said Paul Genecin, chief executive officer of Yale Health and associate clinical professor of internal medicine.
Added Fortgang, “The more people who are immunized, the fewer people who will get sick, and the transmission rate of the virus will come down.”