Mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic set to open for adults over 80
KITCHENER -- Waterloo's mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic, located at 435 The Boardwalk, is set to open Thursday.
People over 80 will be vaccinated first, followed by other people who are eligible as Phase One priority populations.
"This is a public health-run clinic," said Cynthia Voisin of The Boardwalk Management. "It is going to be run during daytime hours to start. A lot of it's going to be dictated by the amount of vaccine supply we have in the region, so they're initially starting Monday to Friday by appointment only."
A Cambridge clinic will open for people over 80 on the week of March 8. That location will be announced later this week.
Shirley Hilton, Deputy Chief of the Waterloo Region Police Service and head of the Waterloo Region Vaccine Distribution Task Force, says the line of sight for the Rona location to open is the week of March 15.
Pharmacist Vu Nguyen said his hands were shaking when he administered his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
"It almost felt like you were handling something precious, that it felt like gold," he said.
He was part of the region's mobile vaccination clinic and administered doses to long-term care home residents and front-line workers.
On Thursday, he'll be part of the Waterloo clinic's opening day.
"I'm super excited, mostly because it's just another step closer to getting everybody vaccinated," Nguyen said.
However, he said he's received phone calls from people who are confused about vaccine rollout.
"Monday was a very busy day for me, because that was when public health opened it up to 80 year olds and over," Nguyen said.
Family physician Dr. Sharon Bal said her phone has been ringing off the hook as well.
"The main questions really are 'How will I be notified?'" Dr. Bal said. "No matter who is calling or what age group or who they're calling for, even if it's for a family member, that's probably the biggest question."
Dr. Bal said some of the confusion comes from information changing rapidly, but hopes having a mass vaccination site will help clear some of that up.
"It certainly gives us more capacity to do more vaccines," she said. "As a result, we'll have just that much more spread and scale capability, as long as we get more vaccines."
Nguyen said he's contacted his patients to ensure they understand how the rollout works.
"In some instances I've registered them myself with their permission," he said.
Regional officials said the mass vaccination clinics will allow for increased accessibility for community members.
“We are excited to be opening two more COVID-19 vaccination clinics in Waterloo Region,” said Shirley Hilton, Deputy Chief of the Waterloo Region Police Service and head of the Waterloo Region Vaccine Distribution Task Force, in a news release. “The Vaccine Distribution Task Force is working with community partners to get vaccines to residents as quickly as possible and according to provincial guidelines. We understand that many residents are anxious about when it will be their turn to be vaccinated. We will continue to provide updates to the public so everyone is aware of when it’s their turn and where they can go to be vaccinated.”
Residents who are eligible under Phase One can pre-register for an appointment. They will be contacted with an appointment time when they become available.
So far, the region says 20,000 people have pre-registered, including 16,000 residents in the over 80 category.