After nearly four and a half months in operation and more than 68,700 vaccinations administered, June 24 marked the final day of operation for the COVID-19 vaccination site at Germantown Baptist Church.
Operated by the City of Germantown and the Town of Collierville in cooperation with the City of Memphis, the site was opened in an effort to make COVID-19 vaccinations easily accessible for those living and working in eastern Shelby County.
“We saw a problem and we devised a solution,” said Germantown City Administrator Patrick Lawton.
With the closest public vaccination site located almost 20 miles away with long lines and wait times, Lawton reached out to Collierville City Administrator James Lewellen to form a partnership.
A few short weeks later the Germantown Baptist Church vaccination site was up and running smoothly, distributing up to 2,185 vaccinations a day at peak demand.
“There is no doubt in my mind that staff’s experience with process improvement made this endeavor possible,” said Mayor Mike Palazzolo of the work done to set up the vaccination site.
With just a few days notice, tents were erected, cones were placed, generators were moved in and City and Town staff took their places, excited to help stop the spread of the disease and ultimately save lives.
“Despite the cold, wind and rain, staff stepped up knowing that this was a chance to help us get back to normal,” said Stacey Ewell, who helped coordinate non-medical and volunteer staff for the vaccination site. “While the Fire and Police departments help keep the community safe every day, this was a chance for the rest of the City workforce to really make a difference.”
From Germantown employees alone, over 11,680 hours were served at the site. Germantown Fire logged more than 6,320 hours, Germantown Police over 1,300 hours and general employees put in more than 4,050 hours.
The entire cost of these hours, over $673,000, is being reimbursed by the Centers for Disease Control via the City of Memphis.
In all, the City of Germantown anticipates a reimbursement of close to $1 million for expenses related to the overall operation of the site, including infrastructure and supplies.
Once the site was up and running smoothly, Germantown leveraged its relationship with Volunteer Odyssey to transition non-medical staff out and volunteers in.
“We are proud to partner with the City of Germantown and the Town of Collierville for this vaccination effort,” said Dr. Sarah Petschonek, Founder and Executive Director of Volunteer Odyssey. “Their commitment to excellence and collaborative spirit allowed us to co-create the ideal volunteer experience. This diverse group of more than 800 volunteers helped save hundreds of lives in our community,” Dr. Petschonek added.
In all, these volunteers worked more than 7,930 hours at the Germantown vaccination site alone.
Those hours have a total value of $186,378.
“I’ve met some amazing people and made new friends in my role,” said Jonni Holdsworth, who started off as a volunteer and was later hired to coordinate volunteers as City staff returned to the office.
Holdsworth alone logged 150 volunteer hours at the site.
“I am so very pleased with the outcome of our efforts,” said Lawton. “I watched as our staff worked tirelessly to meet the challenges of freezing temperatures, unrelenting rain and shortages in vaccine supply then shortages in demand with unbelievable determination.
“These employees and volunteers are true public servants. I am truly grateful and honored to work with each and every one of them,” Lawton added.