Booster shots and vaccines for COVID-19 are available now at the Jim Ciccone Centre. There is no need to wait until a booked appointment in February or later, Julia Pemberton, health services administrator for Northern Health, said on Jan. 25.
A mass walk-in clinic being held from Jan. 24 to Jan. 27, saw more than 450 vaccines administered on its first day, but a decline on day two. It’s hoped numbers will pick up on days three and four, with the fifth day already being cancelled due to a lack of people attending.
Pemberton is rallying everyone aged five years and up who needs a first, second or booster vaccine to attend the third community-wide clinic without waiting times or lines.
“So we’re also trying to encourage people and let them know that if you have an appointment booked in February, but you’re here, and you’re available, we’d be happy to get you vaccinated now,” she said, adding vaccine seekers can be in and out in ten minutes.
Northern Health staff are actively phoning and contacting people to attend the available walk-in clinic and not wait for a booked appointment.
“We do want everybody who is interested in a vaccine to please, please, come to the clinic. Just come,” the health administrator said. “Don’t pay too much attention to timing — as long as you’re 56 days past dose two, just show up, and we’ll give you an immunization.”
While there was some confusion for community members about booking and appointments available due to changing regulatory needs, she said all that can be set aside with the accessible, low barrier convenient clinic where patients can walk in without having to wait for their booked appointment which might be weeks away.
Pemberton said there is confusion out there that she wants to clear up. Anyone who has had vaccine number two can have a booster at least 56 days after, so there is no need to wait until the initially stated 182 days or six months.
With the first community-wide mass clinic being held in March 2021 and the second vaccine clinic held in July, it makes sense that most of the Prince Rupert and area population vaccinated at those events are now eligible for their booster vaccine.
Pemberton said it was expected to see lower numbers at the third community clinic, as 3o per cent of the population had already had a booster before the open clinic. The downtown health unit has been administering 100 to 200 shots per day.
The civic center clinic has plenty of staff and volunteers ready to assist vaccine and booster seekers, with 12 CDC nurses having flown up from the south to help with the clinic. The hours of the clinic are Wednesday (Jan. 26) 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Thursday (Jan. 27) 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. A Friday clinic was cancelled.
“We thought the community-wide approach would be the best way to get people to come in and get those booster doses done.”
K-J Millar | Journalist
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