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Elected officials recognize Mason’s contribution to fighting COVID and thank nurses and staff.
On May 6, U.S. Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D-VA 10th District), Delegate Danica Roem (D-VA 13th District), and Manassas Mayor Jeanette Rishell (D) visited the COVID-19 vaccination clinic located at the Manassas Park Community Center. The vaccination clinic, operated by the George Mason University School of Nursing and the Mason and Partner (MAP) Clinics, have vaccinated more than 22,305 residents since the vaccine became available in January 2021, predominantly serving under-represented and uninsured populations.
Wexton, Roem, and Rishell thanked the nurses and staff running the vaccination site and spoke with clinic coordinator Bridget Jennison about George Mason and the MAP Clinics’ vaccination efforts. “The MAP Clinics are pleased to help greater Prince William fight COVID by offering vaccination clinics and partnering with the Prince William Health Department to reach as many people as possible,” said Jennison.
More than 1,000 doses were administered the day of the officials’ visit, though Jennison explained that the number of vaccinations was slowing down. Jennison indicated that the next wave of vaccinations would be for 12-15 year-olds (approved by the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use on May 10 and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on May 12) and those who may be harder to reach because of hesitancy or other factors. Jennison, Wexton, Roem, and Rishell discussed opportunities to work together to increase vaccination rates in the Prince William community and expressed optimism for continued and successful progress.
“I am very impressed with the MAP Clinic’s commitment to the greater Prince William community and am thankful for their help vaccinating so many residents. I am particularly pleased that the MAP Clinics were able to use Cares Act funding to secure vaccine freezers and other equipment to help our residents get vaccinated as quickly as possible,” said Congresswoman Wexton.
“It is important that elected officials understand the vital services provided by the Mason MAP Clinic in Manassas Park. This is so that we not only get our constituents vaccinated, but we communicate the message to constituents that may also have additional health needs and letting them know that the MAP Clinic is here to help them. Seeing first-hand the vaccination progress gives me hope that we are going to get close to that 70% vaccination level by July 4 in our community. We have incredibly dedicated public and civil servants doing their part to make sure that we get there,” said Delegate Roem.
During the visit, Wexton also spoke with Robert Weiler, senior associate dean for academic affairs for Mason’s College of Health and Human Services regarding Mason’s strategic initiative to become the first college of public health in Virginia. “Mason is ready to bring a college of public health to Virginia that will focus on preparing highly specialized public health researchers, practitioners, and leaders who can respond to existing, evolving, and emerging health problems in the region and throughout the Commonwealth,” said Weiler. Virginia is currently one of only 15 states that does not have an accredited college of public health. George Mason currently offers three accredited public health degrees: Bachelor of Science (BS) in Community Health, Master of Public Health (MPH) with six concentrations, and a PhD in Public Health.
The MAP Clinics are funded by the College of Health and Human Services School of Nursing and through Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grants, as well as funding from the Potomac Health Foundation, and Northern Virginia Health Foundation. The MAP Clinic model is based on an academic-practice partnership model to help translate best evidence into practice at scale for the largest possible impact in the community.