New Hanover Regional Medical Center is giving community vaccinations at a unique setting, a local movie theater.
Stone Theatres' The Pointe 14, 2223 Blockbuster Road in Wilmington, opened its doors to medical staff and the community Wednesday for a COVID-19 vaccination clinic, hospital officials announced this week.
"The New Hanover Regional Medical Center team, including staff, providers and volunteers are working hard to provide vaccines as quickly as we can to the community. We have been providing community vaccines at a number of locations and this week added the space at the Stone Theatres to do even more," said Julian March, NHRMC spokesman, in an email.
NHRMC has been in the process of giving over 4,500 COVID-19 vaccines at The Pointe 14, he said. The 1,200 appointments that opened Thursday afternoon were completely booked in 40 minutes, March said.
Meanwhile, the hospital is also working toward getting additional vaccine shipments so it can set up more appointments at all its locations "for next week – and every week – until we have offered a vaccine to everyone," he said.
Thousands of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are being given out each week. The current vaccination distribution plan involves Groups 1 and 2, including health care workers and adults 65 and over, according to the hospital.
The NHRMC Physician Group primary care practices opened COVID-19 vaccinations Jan. 8 to established patients only.
"We have been closely following all state guidelines, including vaccinating staff and providers working directly with COVID 19 patients first, then opening to new groups as we move into each new phase," March said. "When the state sent out guidelines to allow vaccines to those over the age 75, we opened appointments to existing patients to work through the logistics and fine-tune the process before wider enrollment."
"As soon as the system was solidly in place, we opened to everyone," he added. "The success of this process is evident in how smoothly our registration and vaccination program has gone."
NHRMC has already administered more than 13,000 doses, including doses to healthcare workers, providers and members of the community.
Wilmington Health has also been offering nonpatients vaccines as part of its efforts for a community-wide solution. The medical group recently reopened scheduling COVID-19 vaccine appointments
on Wednesday for Groups 1 and 2, but within a half-hour, all vaccine appointments -- for the allocation by the county of 1,950 vaccines -- were filled, company officials said in an email.
NHRMC officials and Steve Sherwood, general manager of The Pointe 14, came together last week to work out the details of the clinic now taking place in the movie theater setting.
"I called my corporate office to make sure they were on board and of course, Stone Theatres, we're all about the community, so we just jumped in and here we are," Sherwood said Thursday.
The theater setting is a good option for patient flow and open indoor space, he said. NHRMC is using the theater's box office as the check-in point for NHRMC's COVID-19 vaccine clinic, and theaters are being used as patients wait to get their shot, he said.
"We 100% want to be involved to help in any way we can," Sherwood said, adding that another general manager with a theater in Stone Theatres' circuit is talking with a local hospital to implement another COVID-19 vaccination clinic.
Sherwood was not able to share the details or which theater at this time. Stone Theatres operates four other theaters in Fayetteville and Indian Trail, as well as Indian Land, South Carolina, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.