Augusta University Health receives $2 million to expand COVID-19 vaccine effort

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Pastors in the Augusta area were given their first COVID vaccine dose as part of a special event hosted by Augusta University.

Fred Ridley, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament, announced today a new effort in partnership with Augusta University Health to help expand its ability to administer COVID-19 vaccinations throughout the community.

First, Augusta National will provide property in the Washington Square shopping center to serve as a central vaccination site for the area. This location will be operated by AU Health in accordance with its public vaccination plan and offer the opportunity to accommodate a large number of residents efficiently and safely. The space is scheduled to open Feb. 8 and will remain open as long as it is needed.

Augusta National and the Community Foundation for the Central Savannah River Area also will provide matching $1 million contributions, resulting in a joint donation of $2 million to further support AU Health’s vaccination efforts. The donation will facilitate operations at the Washington Square location and allow the opening of pop-up clinics in underserved communities, including the Harrisburg and Laney Walker neighborhoods. The contribution also will fund the launch of AU Health’s first mobile vaccination unit. Appointments for those currently eligible to receive the vaccine can be made here.

In addition, funding will enable the East Central Health District of the Georgia Department of Public Health to add a second mobile vaccination unit, doubling its capacity to provide more accessible vaccine distribution and education to the area. These units will target services to residents of Richmond County who lack transportation or experience other barriers to vaccination.

“Helping expand access to COVID-19 vaccinations is another meaningful way to do more for our neighbors in the Augusta community that has supported the Masters Tournament for more than 80 years,” Ridley said. “The dedication of Augusta University Health, Georgia Department of Public Health and all health care providers working courageously during this pandemic is inspiring, and they deserve our enduring gratitude and support. We hope these resources will have an immediate impact on their efforts to protect those most vulnerable and our community at large through more vaccinations.”

Since the onset of the pandemic last year, Augusta National has worked with local entities to equip and support COVID-19 response efforts in Augusta and the surrounding communities. In March 2020, Augusta National and the Community Foundation for the CSRA coordinated a joint contribution of $2 million to expand local COVID-19 testing at Augusta University and support the CSRA COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund.

These latest efforts also follow Chairman Ridley’s announcement at the 2020 Masters in November of a $10 million gift from Augusta National, AT&T, Bank of America and IBM to assist in the redevelopment of the Harrisburg and Laney Walker neighborhoods. Initially, this collective investment will fund construction of an innovative new community center and new headquarters for the Boys & Girls Club of the CSRA.

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