Plenty of sports arenas and stadiums have been repurposed for COVID-19 vaccination clinics, but it’s notable to see a media company’s campus used for that. That’s what happened on ESPN’s North Campus in Bristol, Connecticut Friday, with more than 500 local teachers and childcare workers vaccinated there through a clinic run by the Bristol-Burlington Health District. That clinic will continue to run for the next few weeks, and will inoculate age-eligible ESPN employees and fellow state residents going forward. Here are more details on that from ESPN Front Row:
Marco Palmeri, Director of Health for the BBHD, said: “The nation and much of the world is in the midst of the greatest vaccination effort of our lifetime. Thousands of lives will be saved, and thousands more will be spared the burdens of this terrible disease. From the start, Local Public Health Agencies, like the Bristol-Burlington Health District, are charged with the responsibility to reduce morbidity and mortality in our communities. This massive undertaking is not possible without our community partners, such as ESPN.
“BBHD has been planning mass vaccination efforts and conducting exercises with ESPN for decades. As a result, we’ve established a plan and partnership that strengthens and improves our ability to assure all residents, especially our most vulnerable, have access to this vaccine.
“This week alone, hundreds of teachers, school staff, and childcare providers will have the opportunity to receive their first vaccine at the ESPN campus, which will continue to be the main vaccination clinic for the local region. Now, many more residents will have the opportunity to receive the vaccine sooner and more efficiently. Never underestimate the power of a strong community partner.”
ESPN’s Vice President of Global Security and Facility Operations, Mike Heimbach, added: “We are very proud to partner with BBHD to provide a safe place where we can facilitate the vaccinations of thousands of our citizens. Gerry Arrotti [Senior Director, Health, Safety and Systems] had the vision and led all of our preparedness planning with BBHD and is responsible for this project coming to fruition.”
It certainly seems to make sense for ESPN to use campus space for this, especially with much of that particular campus (a 400,000 square foot facility that hosts their video tape library and departments including remote operations and platform distribution) not in full use at the moment. It seems like a solid way for them to partner with their community and use some space that isn’t in high demand right now for a good purpose, namely becoming the main vaccination clinic for that region. And it’s going to eventually work out for their employees, too; it’s certainly convenient for age-eligible ESPN employees to be able to eventually get vaccinated right on campus. So this seems like a smart partnership all around.
[ESPN Front Row; top photo from Melissa Rawlins/ESPN Images]