c/o The Middletown Press

c/o The Middletown Press

The University’s Vine Street parking lot has been converted into a drive-through COVID-19 vaccination site operated by the Community Health Center. It has been open five days a week since Thursday, Feb. 4.

The Community Health Center provides affordable healthcare throughout Connecticut to underserved populations, operating on the principle that “health care is a right, not a privilege.” The Vine Street parking lot is the Community Health Center’s second COVID-19 vaccination site in Middletown in addition to its building on Grand Street.

“I think the University also wants to participate in the effort to make sure that everybody in Middletown, in our region, has access to the vaccine,” Community Health Center CEO and founder Mark Masselli ’09 said. “So even if it causes a little dislocation, the University and, I’m sure, the student body also all share in the belief that the vaccine should be available to everyone who desires to be vaccinated.”

Masselli called President Michael Roth ’78 to discuss using the parking lot as a vaccination site after identifying it as meeting the requirements. The Vine Street space is one of the University’s largest parking lots, accommodating the Community Health Center’s need for a steady flow of traffic to keep vaccinations organized. There are five vaccination lines at the Vine Street parking lot. To keep track of who has been vaccinated and when, the Community Health Center places cones on the tops of cars. Once the car occupants have been vaccinated, the Community Health Center writes the time the cars can exit the lot on the cones, ensuring that people only leave at least fifteen minutes after being vaccinated in case of negative reactions.

“This large lot met the logistical requirements of the Community Health Center’s testing and vaccination program,” Director of Media and Public Relations Lauren Rubenstein said. “Smaller lots would not have worked.” 

Masselli predicted that the Community Health Center would be vaccinating 500 people per day by Feb. 12. The Community Health Center also hopes to expand vaccination efforts at Vine Street, adding weekends to its days of operation, as the vaccine supply increases.

“The University has been nothing but forthcoming and supportive of this effort,” Masselli said. “I think we’re all sort of on war footing around the pandemic.”

Approximately 280 students used the Vine Street parking lot last semester, down from pre-pandemic levels of around 315 students, according to Rubenstein. To accommodate those displaced by the closure of the Vine Street parking lot, the University has opened up faculty and staff lots Q, R, LL, Y, Z, and S to all registered student vehicles, and U lot to seniors with permits.

Because some faculty and staff are working remotely, either entirely or partially, and visitors are not allowed on campus, there was some extra space in these lots.

“At this time there have been no issues and we anticipate we will be able to meet parking demand,” Rubenstein said. “We will be monitoring and enforcing regulations to best accommodate our need for additional space.”

Elias Mansell can be reached at emansell@wesleyan.edu 


Correction: Masselli clarified that the other vaccination site is on Grand St., not on Main St. The article has been updated.


Comments are closed