Pardee UNC Health Care’s success in the development and operation of an indoor mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic has been recognized and published in the International Journal of Infection Control. The article, co-authored by Pardee UNC Health Care team members Ivan Gowe, Infection Preventionist; David Crist, Director of Patient Experience/Process Innovation/Analytics; Brittany Kitely, Manager of Process Innovation; Caitlin Owens, Patient Experience Manager; and Adrienne Giddens, PharmD, Director of Pharmacy, details how Pardee was able to develop a safe, efficient operation of a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic during a time when guidelines for indoor clinics were limited.
During the early stages of the pandemic, many public response activities were conducted outdoors to reduce the risk of transmission. However, outdoor spaces are not always ideal due to weather, availability of information technology infrastructure, storage of temperature-sensitive vaccines, frail patients, among other reasons. For these reasons, and because the need emerged in late December 2020, Pardee needed an indoor space to operate a vaccination clinic. The clinic opened on the campus of Blue Ridge Community College on January 12, 2021 and operated through May 8, 2021.
The infection control team was able to take advantage of the size and layout of the space, while also putting in place prevention measures that would mitigate the risk of transmission indoors, the primary ones being strict masking compliance and physical distancing. “The key value of the building used was its size,” Ivan Gowe, Infection Preventionist, Pardee UNC Health Care said. “We were able to keep people separated by more than six feet and designed patient flow in a way that limited lines forming and in turn, ensured that close contact, as defined by the CDC at the time, was not met.”
With the significant collaboration of Blue Ridge Community College, along with the efforts of many partners, volunteers, and health care professionals throughout the county, Pardee was able to provide free vaccines to more than 23,000 residents of Henderson and surrounding counties in Western North Carolina and the Upstate of South Carolina. “The work and innovation that it took by this team to stand up the vaccination clinic and vaccinate our community safely and efficiently were remarkable,” said Jay Kirby, President and CEO, Pardee UNC Health Care. “This recognition is well-deserved, and I am proud of the dedication of everyone connected to the clinic and how they served our community during one of its greatest times of need.”