Work on getting the York County mass vaccination site  ready at the Center for Shopping in Sanford is ongoing, with furniture and equipment due to be installed soon. The center is poised to open on March 2. Courtesy Photo/York County government

SANFORD — The COVID-19 mass vaccination site at the Sanford Center for Shopping is set to open, by appointment, on March 2.

York County Emergency Management Agency director Art Cleaves said personnel at the site will vaccinate 250 people on the first day and gradually ramp up the following two weeks. Eventually, the site will be able to administer as many as 1,000 vaccines per day, pending the availability of vaccine.

The site is a collaboration between York County government, Southern Maine Health Care, the Maine Center for Disease Control and a number of county municipalities.

Southern Maine Health Care staff, available emergency medical services personnel from York County municipalities, county personnel and qualified students from the University of New England will be on hand to administer vaccines, said Cleaves.

He said York County EMA and SMHC will share responsibility for making sure all roles are filled, from personnel registering vaccine recipients, those administering vaccine and  those cleaning and disinfecting the space. Cleaves has previously estimated it will take about 50 people daily to operate the center.

“(UNE) students are in the process of signing up now for positions to assist with the process,” said Cleaves. He said the agency has a large number of students — more than 200 and growing — ready to help.

“Students … from the medical, nursing, physician assistant, pharmacy, and public health programs signed up,” said UNE Director of Public Relations and Communications Sarah Delage. “The medical, nursing, physician assistants, and pharmacy students are trained to give vaccinations, and the public health students can assist with non-clinical activities.”

Students will be deployed as needed, Delage said.

People entering the center for a vaccine will check in and register, proceed to the vaccination area, receive their shot and then move on to a waiting area for 15 minutes to make sure all is well, before receiving an appointment date for their second shot.

The vaccination site at the Center for Shopping, 1364 Main St. (Route 109) will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., six days a week, as the vaccine supply allows, Cleaves told York County Commissioners last week. The center operates by appointment. Cleaves said the MaineHealth vaccination appointment number is 877-780-7545.

The site is the first large-scale vaccination site in York County.

York County commissioners entered into a lease agreement for the space on Feb. 3.

Maine is currently in Phase 1B of the rollout, vaccinating Mainers 70 and older, although a Portland Press Herald story on Feb. 22, indicated Maine is on pace to begin vaccinating residents 65-69 soon.

The move to open a large center in York County came at the behest of the Maine Centers for Disease Control, which approached county government.

Currently, there are a couple of sites in York County where COVID-19 vaccines are administered including a clinic operated by York Hospital, at St. Christopher’s Church in York, and at clinics operated by Southern Maine Health Care.

Some York County residents have registered through the Southern Maine Agency on Aging, which has scheduled clinics in the more rural parts of York County. Some county residents are scheduled for immunizations at Scarborough Downs in Cumberland County, that opened a few weeks ago. The Walmart pharmacies in Biddeford and Sanford are also administering vaccines.

This story will be updated online. To view the story online, visit www.pressherald.com/mainely-media/.

Comments are not available on this story.