'History in the making,' several mass vaccination clinics open in Simcoe County
BARRIE -- Up to now, the only location able to deliver the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine was at the clinic on Sperling Drive, but on Monday, that all changed.
The mass vaccination clinic at the Holly Recreation Centre on Mapleton Avenue in Barrie officially opened its doors, one of several clinics now ready to offer the vaccine.
Simcoe Muskoka's top doctor, Dr. Charles Gardner, calls the opening "a piece of history in the making."
"We greatly expanded the base of immunization throughout all of Simcoe Muskoka from one fixed site to 13 through the course of the week," he says.
Other clinics, including the one at the Collingwood Legion along with others at the Alliston Memorial Arena and Hunstville Active Centre, also opened.
The clinics will all operate by appointment only, which can be made online through the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit's website or by phone.
Those eligible now include adults over 85 years old, Indigenous adults over 55, adult recipients of chronic home care, and high priority health care workers.
On Monday, cars lined up at the drive-thru as health officials gathered personal information, while the shot in the arm took just a few seconds.
"To be able to get it right here so fast was excellent," said one vaccine recipient.
Another saying, "I wanted to be done soon as could be done."
The South Georgian Bay Family Health Team is collaborating with public health to provide both vaccination clinics and covid assessments in Collingwood and Wasaga beach.
"So one day, we will have that available in Collingwood the next day Wasaga Beach the way we scheduled nobody should have to wait more than 24 hours to be tested," says Marie LaRose with the South Georgian Bay Family Health Team.
The first vaccination clinic in Wasaga will open at the RecPlex Community Centre next week.
The health unit is only booking appointments one week in advance based on the availability of vaccines.
Cindy Baker-Barill, Manager of Vaccine Clinics in Collingwood and Wasaga Beach, says some wrinkles in the system are expected along the way.
"I think we have all learned how to be flexible, and that's how we're going to make this happen today," says Baker-Barill.
All available appointments for this week are already booked, but the health unit encourages those eligible to sign up on their waiting list.