BYU works with Utah County Health Department to open vaccination site

The former Provo High School building, acquired by BYU in 2016, will be used by the Utah County Health Department as a mass vaccination site. (Preston Crawley)

The Utah County Health Department is working in conjunction with BYU to open a new COVID-19 vaccination site at the former Provo High School campus.

The site is set to open sometime in March. The health department opened its American Fork site on March 8, and the former Provo High site will open soon after.

Health department public information officer Aislynn Tolman-Hill said BYU and the department have worked together closely for the past year with contact tracing and other COVID-19 related items. The creation of this site is one of their most recent collaborations.

“We are extremely grateful for such wonderful partners in the community and are excited to continue to work with BYU,” she said.

BYU and the health department are working together to get the site operational as soon as possible. Tolman-Hill said opening the site in March is dependent on the support staff getting the building ready with all of the supplies they will need.

The university has been involved in getting the building ready for use, but the health department will be responsible for staffing the site with volunteers, according to BYU Digital Communications Director Natalie Ipson.

“Though there isn’t an official designation of BYU volunteers, we look forward to the opportunity that our campus community and alumni will have to serve as volunteers at the site,” Ipson said.

Tolman-Hill said the health department has been working with the College of Nursing to staff other sites, such as the vaccination site in Spanish Fork and the health department in Provo.

College of Nursing Associate Dean Julie Valentine said one way nursing students have been involved is by administering COVID-19 vaccines.

“At this time, (the Utah County Health Department) has placed our nursing student volunteers on hold as they coordinate several mass vaccination sites. We will be ready to help as needed with (the Utah County Health Department) and/or our Student Health Center,” she said.

Tolman-Hill said having staff is a significant need at large-scale clinics such as the one opening in Provo. She said the health department will continue to work with BYU, Intermountain Healthcare and Revere Health to meet that staffing need.

While the health department is still working to make sure all its vaccination sites are fully staffed, Tolman-Hill said it started recruiting volunteers last August. “We have had a great community response for volunteers.”

Community members can sign up to volunteer to serve as greeters and other positions at the UServeUtah website. “We rely heavily on the generosity of volunteers, both medical and non-medical, as well,” Tolman-Hill said.

With the close proximity to BYU campus, Tolman-Hill believes this new vaccination site will be convenient for faculty and staff to go and receive their vaccination.

She said when the site opens, individuals can sign up to receive the vaccine on the department’s website. People can also receive text notifications for when there are new appointments available by texting UCHEALTH to 888777.

The former Provo High parking lot is currently designated as student or Y-parking. “When we do open the site, parking will be reserved for the vaccination site,” Tolman-Hill said.

BYU assumed control of the former Provo High property back in 2018. To date, BYU has not announced any future plans for the site.

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