17:16 PM

Ohio State transforms Schottenstein Center into mass vaccination site

Staff vaccinate 400 university health care workers during soft launch

Staff from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center vaccinated more than 400 of their peers today at the Jerome Schottenstein Center.

The vaccination program was a trial run before the home of the basketball Buckeyes turns into a mass COVID-19 vaccination site for patients and the public. The vaccination program at the Schottenstein Center begins next week (Jan. 19) and will eventually have the capacity to provide more than 3,000 vaccines per day.

“The Schottenstein Center offers us a lot of advantages over our other campus locations, so in particular, as we think about moving to the general public and particularly the elderly public, certainly we have ADA accessible facilities here. We have ample parking that’s very close to the site,” said Crystal Tubbs, associate director in the Department of Pharmacy at the medical center. “We will have shuttles running in the parking lot so patients can be picked up and brought to the entrances. We also have an adequate fleet of wheelchairs to help people once they’re inside the Schott to be mobile. And then we really have just a great complement of staff here on site.”

Tubbs said the streamlined process accommodates both efficiency and patient safety. Patients go through a brief check-in and registration process. After they are seated, they have a conversation with a vaccinator to make sure that it’s safe to administer the injection.

After patients receive their shot, they are asked to wait 15 to 30 minutes, depending on their history of allergies. While they are waiting, they schedule the timing of the second vaccine dose.

“Then once that 15 or 30 minutes has passed, the patients are free to go,” Tubbs said.

For Erin Tossey, a behavioral support specialist with the university’s Nisonger Center, the vaccination was simple and straightforward.

“I was excited. Our supervisor e-mailed us to let us know that we were going to start the process of getting vaccinated,” she said. “I know myself and all my co-workers are just looking forward to being able to get back out and see our clients.”

When the Schottenstein Center vaccination site opens next week, prioritization of who receives the vaccine and when remains guided by federal and state governments. The medical center is scheduling vaccine appointments for individuals who are at least 80 years old following Gov. Mike DeWine’s plans for vaccine distribution. Appointment scheduling opportunities will follow the COVID-19 vaccination phase 1B distribution plan as follows: 

  • Week of Jan. 19: 80 years of age and older
  • Week of Jan. 25: 75 and older and those with severe congenital or developmental disorders
  • Week of Feb. 1: 70 and older and employees of K-12 schools who wish to remain on or return to in-person or hybrid models 
  • Week of Feb. 8: 65 and older

The medical center also plans to provide COVID-19 vaccinations for patients at an existing vaccine location within OSU East Hospital beginning in February.

More information and updates are available on the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes website.

“It’s certainly a really exciting opportunity to be in this beautiful space,” Tubbs said. “I think you’ll see and feel the Buckeye spirit. The team that has brought this to fruition is a really incredible, dedicated and gritty team. We’re really looking forward to offering this to our patients and the general public.”

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