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February 17, 2021

UMass Medical School lands $435K in donations to aid COVID vaccine efforts

Photo | Grant Welker UMass Chan Medical School in Worcester

UMass Medical School has been given a major boost in its efforts to start a COVID-19 vaccination corps to help quickly inoculate the public.

The Cummings Foundation, a Woburn-based nonprofit associated with Cummings Properties, a major Boston-area office building owner, kicked off the new financial backing with a $200,000 and a challenge to match the funds. That amount was raised, and then surpassed, by a six-figure donation from the United Way of Central Massachusetts, along with donations from the Frias family of S&F Concrete in Hudson, The Kraft Group, the Tsotsis family, the Melvin S. Cutler Charitable Foundation of Worcester and the DuFour family.

Combined, $435,000 was raised.

The Worcester medical school, which announced the fundraising Wednesday, said the money will be used to help manage the growing vaccination effort, design a staffing resource and allocation plan, and create community outreach and education initiatives. 

UMass Medical School Chancellor Michael Collins and UMass President Marty Meehan have advocated for a vaccination corps to be deployed at least statewide, using volunteer medical and nursing students to help vaccinate as much of the public as possible in the coming months. More than 1,800 volunteers have already registered, starting with a pilot effort in January that vaccinated Worcester-area first responders and homeless shelter residents. Volunteers without medical expertise are able to help in other ways, including as greeters or customer service assistants.

Separately, a public vaccination site opened Tuesday at Worcester State University as part of the state's drive to increase the supply of coronavirus vaccines. More than 1.1 million doses have been given statewide through Tuesday, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

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