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Wagner Automotive Group helps UMMS drive COVID-19 vaccination effort

Area auto dealership provides van to assist with vaccine delivery in Central Massachusetts

Date Posted: Tuesday, May 18, 2021

 

Vaccine Corps van Wagners-Colombo-Collins - IMG_0773.jpg
Karyn and Mark Wagner, owners of Wagner Automotive Group (left) hand over
the keys to UMMS Executive Vice Chancellor for Commonwealth Medicine
Lisa Colombo and UMMS Chancellor Michael Collins

Another notable demonstration of support for the Vaccine Corps launched by UMass Medical School (UMMS) has been made by Wagner Automotive Group of Shrewsbury. The longstanding dealership has donated the lease of a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van to assist UMMS student volunteers and other Vaccine Corps volunteers in delivering COVID-19 vaccines to special populations in Massachusetts, including senior citizens, individuals with limited physical mobility, people with mental or cognitive impairment, and the homeless.

“This is a wonderful contribution by Wagner Automotive Group and the Wagner family,” said Chancellor Michael F. Collins. “Having this van strengthens the Vaccine Corps’ efforts to protect and promote health equity because it provides a flexible, mobile option to address the vaccination needs of vulnerable populations within our state. We are extremely grateful for this support.”

Launched in February 2021, the Vaccine Corps is the statewide initiative to recruit and deploy volunteers to accelerate the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Massachusetts. The Vaccine Corps began with Medical School faculty and students supporting the equitable distribution of vaccine to vulnerable populations and was expanded in partnership with Commonwealth Medicine, the consulting and operations division of UMass Medical School. As of May 17, 2021, 7,200 volunteers have registered.

Vaccine Corps van - IMG_0687.jpg“Establishing the Vaccine Corps is exactly what was needed to ensure everyone had access to the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Karyn and Mark Wagner, owners of Wagner Automotive Group. “Having volunteers at large-capacity vaccination sites has been fantastic, so when UMass Medical School approached us about helping to get them deeper into the community, we were on board right away. We’re so pleased to be able help in this way.”

UMMS is partnering with the City of Worcester Division of Public Health on how and where the van will be deployed in Central Massachusetts. Student volunteers from all three UMMS graduate schools, led by Mina Botros, School of Medicine Class of 2024, will take part in this mobile effort.

“For so many people, getting to a vaccination site has been all but impossible and for a variety of reasons,” said Botros. “We’ve already made our way into the community through pop-up sites, and one person told me that he would not have received the vaccination otherwise. Thanks to Wagner Motors we’ll be able to help those in our community who need it most.”

Outfitted with the equipment needed to transport and deliver vaccines safely and effectively, the Vaccine Corps van will make its first stops at already scheduled clinics for the Worcester Public Schools and surrounding areas beginning in mid-May.