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Mass COVID-19 Vaccination Site Set To Open At PPG Paints Arena

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Another sports arena turned into a mass vaccination site Monday in an effort to ramp up the rollout in our area.

More than 1,000 people got their first dose of the Moderna vaccine at PPG Paints Arena. The Penguins and UPMC teamed up for the mass vaccine clinic. Everyone who got their first dose will get the second dose in a few weeks.

Clinic volunteers and staff were able to vaccinate at a rate of 200 people per hour.

"It was painless," James Dudley Jr. from Pittsburgh said.

Dudley's wife told him he needed his shot.

"You have to do what your wife tells you. I don't care what you guys say. You better listen to your wife," Dudley said with a laugh.

The clinic was available by appointment only, and walk-ins weren't accepted at this time. All appointments for Monday were filled.

"Our promise is that if you're on our portal and we get the vaccine, we're going to reach out and we're going to schedule you at one of our sites," UPMC Children's Hospital President Mark Sevco said.

Sevco said they have the capacity to do 80,000 shots a week but are currently doing about 22,000. They are expecting the state to expand their supply. When this happens, they plan to have more vaccine clinics, including drive-thru sites.

"As we expect to get more vaccine, we are looking to do these venues to supplement our existing sites so we can deploy the vaccine as quickly as it comes in," Sevco said.

UPMC is only accepting people in Phase 1A and has an online portal for people to sign up for their shots. Currently, the healthcare giant is vaccinating around 22,000 people per week. It hopes to get the number closer to 50,000 in the coming weeks.

"Right now, we have 350,000 people on our portal, and we have 50,000 right now scheduled.  We're working through it, as fast as the supply of vaccine comes in," said Sevco.

UPMC says this is the first of several planned clinics at various sites. On Wednesday, more shots will be available at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry Township. Monday's clinic is set to begin at 8 a.m. There will be about 500 shots and people are asked to use the UPMC vaccine portal to register for any vaccine appointment.

"If everybody does this, we won't have to worry," Dudley said. "We won't have to wear masks. We won't have to worry about who we shake hands with."

For more information and a link to the UPMC vaccine portal, click here.

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