A new mass vaccination clinic opened on Jan. 22 on West Campus — the result of efforts led by the Yale New Haven Health system with assistance from the School of Nursing.

Inaugurated last month as a vaccination clinic, Building 410 had been unoccupied since the University’s purchasing of West Campus from Bayer Pharmaceuticals in 2007. According to West Campus Director of Finance and Administration Meghan Dahlmeyer, administrators were informed around Jan. 12 of YNHH’s need for more vaccination clinics, and quickly put together a team to turn the empty Building 410 into a space that could be used by healthcare workers to administer vaccines.

“It was a very quick turnaround,” said Dahlmeyer. “The credit goes to the hospital team as well as the teams at Yale, everyone did their part to make sure the clinic was up and running as quickly as possible.”

According to Dahlmeyer, there was no need for renovations, since the hospital staff brought most of the supplies needed to open the clinic in Building 410. Walkthroughs took place in mid-January with Yale facilities, security and IT staff in order to ensure that all of the necessary infrastructure was present. Hospital staff were also consulted about proper measures of social distancing and the basic requirements for the clinic to function, such as beds and communication with other clinics in the system.

Yale nursing students are vaccinating over 250 Connecticut community members per day at the new clinic, as they have done at other YNHH vaccination locations. Yale Health Director Paul Genecin told the News in an email that Yale nursing students have been helping the University throughout the pandemic, as members of the Yale Health COVID testing program and working the Campus COVID Resource Line.

“I am deeply grateful to the [Registered Nurses] enrolled as students in degree programs at Yale School of Nursing,” Genecin wrote in an email. “They are dedicated to the health of the community and they work long hours in the vaccination program.”

Dean of the School of Nursing Ann Kurth also praised students’ contribution to the mass vaccination efforts, saying that she is “proud” of the work done by students and staff to create the clinic.

According to her, faculty members, students and alumni from the School of Nursing have been on the frontlines of medical treatment since the start of the pandemic.

“To be a part of the vaccination rollout effort is inspiring, both here and as nursing steps up as the largest health professional workforce across the nation,” Kurth wrote in an email to the News.

Dahlmeyer explained that the building has served many purposes since the opening of West Campus in 2007 — usually through collaborations between community organizations and the University. In 2013, it housed Y-Hack, a nation-wide undergraduate hackathon, and the art nonprofit Artspace held its annual exhibition in the building in 2018.

Dahlmeyer explained that since the campus spans both the city of West Haven and the town of Orange, it is in a unique position to serve the towns’ populations — which makes it perfect for large events and, now, a vaccination clinic.

“When [a project] is possible and fits within the mission of the University, we want to be good citizens and good partners to the local community,” Dalhmeyer said.

She also explained that while the Building 410 is now being occupied by YNHH, it still has no definitive purpose within the University. According to Kurth, nursing students had also previously used the building as a site for clinical simulations.

Dalhmeyer does believe it could be used in a clinical context after the pandemic is over. However, she said that the University has not determined an end date for the use of the building as a vaccination site.

“It is the last remaining vacant building on [West Campus],” Dalhmeyer said. “So we’re excited to see what the space will turn into on a permanent basis in the future.”

Yale New Haven Health currently has 14 open vaccination sites across the state of Connecticut, with the closest one to Yale’s campus being the Lanman Center.

Beatriz Horta | beatriz.horta@yale.edu

 

Correction, Feb. 26: A previous version of this article stated that the School of Nursing was responsible for opening the clinic. In fact, it was an effort led by the Yale New Haven Health System.