RTP Foundation 'happy to host' as Durham vets sites for mass COVID-19 vaccination
Posted January 25, 2021 10:25 p.m. EST
Updated January 26, 2021 6:22 p.m. EST
Durham, N.C. — As Durham County leaders look for a place to host a series of mass vaccination events in the coming weeks and months, Research Triangle Foundation would be "happy to be a host for that," President and CEO Scott Levitan said.
Durham Public Health Director Rodney Jenkins said the state of North Carolina and Fidelity are close to reaching an agreement for a site, although neither party would offer specifics on Tuesday. Fidelity has a large footprint in Research Triangle Park, a location with easy highway access and plenty of space for a drive-thru event.
"They needed a large space for actual vaccinations. They needed a recovery space. They needed parking. There was a desire to have easy access to I-40 so that they could serve multiple communities,” Levitan said.
Duke Health would provide clinical support for the event once logistics are worked out, a spokeswoman said.
"We are excited for the potential to work together to expand our vaccination capacity here in Durham with the opening of our first mass vaccination site," Jenkins said. "We are still working out the details such as hours of operation, appointment scheduling, and other logistical considerations, but it is our goal to open to the public in the early weeks of February."
The county on Tuesday said a mass site would have the ability to vaccinate up to 17,000 people per week.
"We will do anything possible to expedite the setup and find a site that works for the county and state," Levitan said.
Health services provider OptumServe is scouting locations with Durham Public Schools in hopes of vaccinating about 1,100 people per day.
"I can't wait. I would get it today," said Durham resident Marjorie Strauss. "The vaccine can’t come fast enough."
Rachel Sanders agreed.
"Durham’s right in the middle," she pointed out. "It’s good for Cary, for Chapel Hill."
Chapel Hill resident Lydia Chitwood had no qualms about making that trip.
"I would definitely be excited for a mass site and would definitely come to Durham if that was the case," she said.