Simcoe Muskoka COVID-19 vaccine clinics ramp up
BARRIE, ONT. -- With more COVID-19 vaccine doses available in Simcoe Muskoka than ever before, many say they're hopeful this is the beginning of the end of the pandemic.
Simcoe Muskoka's vaccination program is getting a major shot in the arm throughout the long weekend, with some clinics ramping up capacity around 30 per cent.
"With everybody being eligible, it couldn't be easier to get your vaccine," said Reina Barker, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit's vaccination clinic manager.
Barker manages the health unit's Holly Community Centre clinic in Barrie, which will begin offering 1,200 doses a day starting Friday. Thirty staff from across the region, including doctors, nurses and volunteers are helping to pitch in.
"It is a total team effort," Barker said.
Some residents say they're doing their part to keep loved ones safe.
"(We're) on the road to getting back to normal. Anything to protect this little girl," said Innisfil resident, Taavo Westerblom.
Others say they're feeling more optimistic.
"I feel more handsome, I feel stronger, I feel faster," said Barrie resident, Joe Legere.
Stella Johnson, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre's operations manager, says staff and physicians have been waitings months to get to this point.
Meanwhile, Barrie's RVH-run Sperling Drive clinic is now able to administer 10,000 doses per week.
Residents can line up and shortly after receive a shot. Following a quick 15 minute stop in the after-care room, they are free to go.
"They're just grateful. It's such a happy place to be," Johnson said. "Everyone is excited to be here. The feeling of relief that we hear is something we always talk about."
Nurse Shari Sherwood even came out of retirement to rejoin her team at RVH.
"This opportunity gives me a chance to feel like I'm doing something again. Trying to help us out of this mess," Sherwood said.
The health unit asks any eligible residents who haven't already done so to book their vaccine appointment.