A cheque for $5,000 in appreciation of volunteer efforts at the Prince Rupert and region COVID-19 vaccination clinic was presented by the District of Port Edward’s mayor Knut Bjorndal to Northern Health on March 18.
A cascade of community essence and harmony happening in Prince Rupert this week is overwhelming to some in positions of municipal leadership. With more than 400 community volunteers assisting at the Northern Health hosted immunization clinic, Bjorndal said it shows the binding community spirit of Prince Rupert and Port Edward.
“I was, you know, I was almost brought to tears with the absolute spirit of volunteerism going on,” the Port Edward mayor said. “I was very taken back and this is very heartfelt from the people at the front door to the people inside. Their attitudes and enthusiasm are overwhelming. It’s the passion to support their community.”
The undertaking to vaccinate more than 10,000 residents in one area campaign was organized in just five days, Julia Pemberton health services administrator in Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii for Northern Health, said.
“It took a lot of effort from a lot of people. It really took the community to show up as well, we are so grateful for that,” she said.
“We’ve never had a pandemic like this. We’ve never had to have mass vaccinations. You know, we can be pretty swift to condemn problems in the medical system or whatever else, but when somebody does a hell of a job like the volunteers and Northern Health has done, we got to embrace them,” Bjorndal said.
“The readiness and enthusiasm of staff and volunteers in our small community is representative of how our folks have stepped up throughout the pandemic. I share in the Mayor’s heartfelt gratitude. Thank you all,” Jennifer Rice MLA for the North Coast said.
Rice said she commends all volunteers and staff as it has been a phenomenal experience for her to see such a massive undertaking completed so well and coordinated in the community.
“It appears seamless — who knows what it’s like in the background,” Rice said. “When you come in as a vaccine recipient, it’s efficient, well organized and I feel safe.”
Port Edward Council made the resolution to contribute funds to “whatever” was needed for the volunteers, the mayor said.
“It’s just a small part that we can do for the tremendous volunteer support we’ve (received) from the citizens of this area,” Bjorndal said.
Northern Health is extremely grateful for the donation to recognize the volunteers and the money would be used to support their efforts Pemberton said, with one final word. “
If you missed your appointment during the mass clinic, you will still be able to access a vaccine through the public health unit.”
K-J Millar | Journalist
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