UMass Memorial opens vaccination site at Mercantile Center in Worcester

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By Marco Cartolano

Photo: Christine Peterson

WORCESTER — After a month of planning, UMass Memorial Medical Center opened a vaccination site for UMass Memorial patients at the Mercantile Center on Monday.

The site will initially only be open Monday through Friday to already-identified patients in the UMass Memorial system and to health care workers.

Monday was the first day when patients 75 and older could get vaccinated at the site, and about 220 patients were scheduled to receive the Pfizer vaccine on Monday. The site is expected to ramp up to administering about 2,500 vaccines a week, said Dianna Caffarena, senior vice president of ambulatory at UMass Memorial.

The UMass Memorial system set up a call center to contact patients 75 and older to inform them about the vaccine.

The site will just vaccinate patients 75 and older from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. From 4 to 6 p.m., health care workers approved for Phase One of the state’ s vaccine rollout and patients over the age of 75 can be vaccinated.

“Patients are so excited to be able to finally get this. It’s a wonderful opportunity to be on the forefront of ensuring that we’re going to hopefully protect the entire country,” Candra Szymanski, a UMass Memorial nurse who administered shots on Monday said, “This is their light at the end of the tunnel in terms of at least giving them some protection against this virus.”

Meantime, a vaccination supersite is being set up at Worcester State University, due to open Feb. 16. This operation will be open to all residents, based on phase.