LANCASTER — High Desert Medical Group, in partnership with the City of Lancaster, opened a major expansion site at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds for administering vaccinations against COVID-19 on Monday, with the goal of growing up to 4,000 vaccine shots a week.
The site went actively operational on Monday in the Van Dam Pavilion.
The new site is in addition to the site that the city and Kaiser Permanente are already operating at the Fairgrounds. Rafael Gonzalez, administrator for High Desert Medical Group, said the partnership evolved from an initiative taken by Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris.
“Mayor Parris called me two weeks ago and offered his help and resources towards a mass vaccination initiative,” he said.
He helped High Desert Medical Group and the City of Lancaster achieve a goal of rapidly expanding the number of shots that can be provided in the Antelope Valley.
“As we are vaccinating around 1,000 of our own members along with community members, at HDMG, the mayor agreed to assign several of his staff to assist with implementing a concurrent program,” Gonzalez said. “The city really provided everything we needed (in infrastructure) and everything that we asked for.”
The site will operate from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
High Desert Medical Group plans on adding 1,000 shots the first week and work their way up to 4,000 a week.
“Should availability of vaccines increase we stand ready to increase that number,” Gonzalez said.
He said the human element is a major part of making it happen.
“What speaks volume is the help we have secured from student nurses — the nursing programs both at Antelope Valley College, along with Career Care Institute will give an abundance of help,” he said.
The goal is to keep a vaccine team at HDMG, while shifting the majority of our resources and combine them with AV fairgrounds team.
This will give the residents of the Antelope Valley another option for vaccines and help accelerate Parris vaccination goal of 10,000 a week. The High Desert Medical Group site currently has the two-dose Moderna and single-dose Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.