Centre Volunteers In Medicine (CVIM) hosted an event on Saturday morning at Mount Nittany Middle School to celebrate its COVID-19 vaccination efforts.
The organization lauded its volunteers, provided updates on its campaign and reported the total vaccines administered to date. In a THON-style reveal, CVIM announced it has distributed a total of 21,750 vaccine doses at clinics in Centre County since Jan. 14.
“This effort has been nothing short of heroic…Nearly 20,000 vaccines is an incredible accomplishment and one we can all be proud of,” State College Area School District Board of Directors President Amber Concepcion said. “I would urge every eligible individual in our community to please plan your vaccine to protect yourself and your loved ones.”
The vaccination effort has been possible thanks to the help of nearly 5,000 volunteer hours from 440 people. CVIM’s first clinic in January administered only 30 doses, but operations quickly expanded. By February, the “little vaccination clinic that could” was hosting 1,200-dose clinics and has since scaled to 2,400-dose clinics.
While the celebration was going on, a vaccine clinic was simultaneously being held at the middle school. CVIM also has converted venues including the nearby Panorama Village Building, the Bryce Jordan Center, State College Area High School and Penns Valley Area High School into vaccination centers.
State Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Benner Township; State House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, R-Bellefonte; and Sue Paterno were among the attendees at the celebration.
“This is such a great story for so many reasons,” Corman said. “I had the chance to speak about it on the Senate floor this week and I was proud. I’m always proud to talk about things that are great in your district…I’m so proud to live here. I’m so proud to represent this area. I’m so proud of the work you’ve done.”
Corman also lauded CVIM’s nearly two decades of work providing free healthcare to community members without insurance and thanked volunteers for coming together, even amid “one of the worst political climate years of [his] lifetime.”
Benninghoff, who previously worked in health care and as Centre County coroner, echoed Corman’s statements and pushed for community members to get vaccinated.
“We know the importance of trying to provide these opportunities for individuals,” Benninghoff said. “Yes, there’s a lot of unanswered questions to make people have reasons to not necessarily want to do something, but at the end of the day we understand this is a preventative measure.”
CVIM Executive Director Cheryl White concluded the event by emphasizing how easy it is to get a vaccine now and encouraged all community members to get a shot. Individuals can sign up for CVIM’s clinics at cvim.net. First and second-dose distribution events are currently scheduled through June.
Elsewhere in Centre County, COVID-19 vaccinations are available by appointment by appointment through Mount Nittany Health, which has given or scheduled more than 40,000 vaccines to date; by appointment or walk-in at the state-run regional vaccination clinic in the Bryce Jordan Center and by appointment at multiple pharmacies listed on the Pennsylvania Department of Health website.