AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – For weeks, CSRA residents have been vaccinated against COVID-19 at different locations — hospitals and even churches. Behind the scenes, Augusta University and the Augusta National Golf Club were drawing up plans to open a centralized, permanent vaccination clinic. The new facility, dubbed Augusta’s “vaccination hub,” opened in Washington Square on Wednesday.
The 38,000 square foot facility has the capacity to vaccinate thousands of people each day. All Georgia residents can get vaccinated at the Augusta clinic when they are eligible.
“This is meant to serve the Augusta community and state of Georgia for an extended period of time,” Dr. Joshua Wyche, Augusta University Health’s Director of Pharmacy, says.
The only limitation AU is facing is how many doses are allocated to them each week. They hope the new clinic and the speed of their vaccinations will lead the state to ship more doses to them.
“Vaccine availability is our biggest limitation, but additional vaccines are coming online,” Dr. Phillip Coule, Augusta University Chief Medical Officer, says.
“If the state of Georgia decides AU is a good place to send vaccine, we have the bandwidth and ability to take that vaccine and get individuals vaccinated as quickly and safely as possible,” Wyche adds.
AU and Augusta National spent countless hours planning and designing the facility, keeping patients in mind the entire time. Potholes were fixed, and parking spaces were repainted. Patients are greeted by calming music and a relaxing atmosphere when they arrive for their appointments.
“There’s a lot of planning that went into this to make this a very patient friendly environment during a time that can be highly anxious for people who are coming in to get their vaccinations for the first time,” Wyche explains.
It all worked for Barbara Johnson, whose nerves eased when she was greeted by AU’s staff.
“The music and the people made me relax,” she said. “Being nice, courteous and friendly says a lot.”
Convenience says a lot as well. Patients tell NewsChannel 6 they were in and out of the building in just a few minutes.
“It was really well organized,” Francoise Robertson said.
The last year has been challenging for many people in the Augusta area. The new clinic is now offering them some relief.
“When the going gets rough, the rough gets going,” James Robertson, Sr. said.
How to get vaccinated
Anyone who is eligible to be vaccinated can make an appointment on Augusta University’s online portal.