EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) - A mass vaccination clinic for COVID-19 is opening Thursday at UW-Eau Claire's Zorn Arena, and it's already fully booked through Saturday.
"We are ready to go with 700 appointments. And 700 through Thursday, Friday, Saturday," said Eau Claire City-County Health Department Director Lieske Giese
Giese said at first they'll administer 700 doses a day, and when people eventually need their second shots, they expect to do 1,400 a day.
Zorn was used as a testing site for months, and Giese said there are extra steps to take when turning the space into a large vaccination clinic.
"Getting people through includes everything from where do they park, how do they know where to go, and then making sure we have enough people to check them in and to vaccinate them successfully," Giese said. "And to watch to make sure they [patients] don't have any adverse outcomes while they're here."
Officials said about 70 staff and volunteers from various agencies will help on a daily basis, including our local health department, UW-Eau Claire, FEMA, and the National Guard.
"It's really a neat experience to see how all this happens. It's like putting a jigsaw together and so far, I'm pretty pleased with how things are going. You can tell that they have a deep concern for the safety and well-being for the citizens of Eau Claire and surrounding counties," said Leif Purcell, lead FEMA representative.
Anyone 16 and older is welcome to get the vaccine for free at Zorn, but no walk-ins are allowed so you must book an appointment beforehand.
"We need this leg of our stool to be back in a place where we don't have concerns that our numbers of cases are going to start exploding again. We need people vaccinated that can be vaccinated," Giese said.
You can sign up for an appointment for Zorn online at the Wisconsin COVID-19 Registry or by calling the State Call Center at (844) 684-1064. Whether you have a language barrier or mobility issues, Giese said resources will be available to help you.
If you're getting your shot at Zorn and are wondering where to park, you can park in the Hibbard Lot at the corner of Park and Garfield Avenues.
The mass clinic will be open five days a week Tuesday through Saturday.
Thursday's clinic will be open from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Giese said for the first few weeks the clinic will be open for six hours a day, but plan to eventually expand to eight.