What to expect when arriving at Waterloo's mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic
KITCHENER -- New COVID-19 vaccination clinics opened in Waterloo Region this week and pre-registration is now open to adults over 70.
CTV Kitchener’s Rosie Del Campo spoke to Celina Sousa, the site operations manager at the COVID-19 vaccination clinic at 435 The Boardwalk in Waterloo to find out what you can expect when you arrive at a clinic for your shot.
What do you do and what’s involved in your role?
I’m the site operations manager for the clinic, which essentially provides oversight to about 50 staff and volunteers and other management staff in running the clinic so we can safely get folks through the clinic.
What happens when someone arrives at the clinic?
On arrival they will come into the north entrance of the boardwalk clinic. They will be greeted by a greeter and a screener who will ask the typical COVID-19 screening questions that many of us have experienced going into premises. So people will be screened for any symptoms and will only be permitted to continue if they declare no to all the symptoms on the COVID-19 questionnaire. They then proceed to a station where they will be provided with a new mask, a new face covering as well as hand sanitizer for proper sanitizing. They will check in for their appointment and present their health card, check in and make sure they’re at the right time and at the right place for their immunization and proceed to a more formal registration process just before they get immunized.
How long does the process take and how long is the wait in general?
We’ve been running with people sometimes walking right in and as is the case early in the mornings we try to open up and get people going as soon as possible. We’re running at about a 10-minute wait time. Most people are waiting inside the vestibule. We’re trying to avoid any outdoor lineups as much as possible and the entire process really depends on the client as well and whether they’re coming in a group with their partner or their spouse and a caregiver and also their own mobility. So the entire process could last anywhere from between 40 minutes and an hour. Clients are asked to wait in recovery post-immunization just to make sure they feel alright and that adds that extra time at the end in recovery before they check out.
Who can come with you?
If anyone needs assistance either for mobility issues or translation is allowed to bring in a caregiver or a friend, family member. Certainly couples who have their appointments together can come together and will be immunized at the same station together. So we do encourage caregivers to come if clients need any type of assistance.
How many people are being vaccinated at the Boardwalk clinic?
We are vaccinating currently on our 12 hour shift which starts from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. We’re vaccinating 600 people a day.
Under what circumstances could someone be turned away at a clinic?
People need an appointment, so of course our vaccine doses are based on the appointments made for the day. An appointment is required. We do have the ability for those who are looking for an appointment we will provide information on how they can obtain that. The other reason some people might get somewhat through the process and be deferred for their vaccine is if there are health issues that are identified at the immunization stage and we need them to consult with their primary care provider.
Which vaccine is available at the clinic and are you offered a choice?
At the Boardwalk only Pfizer is available, that is what has been available from the beginning. There is no choice at this time and certainly people who receive Pfizer for their first dose would be receiving Pfizer for their second dose.
What happens right after you get the shot? What can you expect?
Right after people get the shot they will be led to a recovery area where they’re asked to sit for 15 minutes before they check out. These 15 minutes are intended to monitor individuals to make sure that there are no adverse events as a result of the immunization, making sure people are okay to leave. So it’s really a time to rest, a time to relax a little bit, right before they check out.
Anything regarding potential side effects that people should be aware of immediately afterwards?
At the immunization stage, once they are with the immunizer, they will be provided with information on post-vaccine, what they can expect. They’re provided with a handout that they can take home that they can refer to in the oncoming days. That information is provided directly to the client so that they’re aware that if there’s anything unusual they would report that.
What information is someone given after the vaccine about when they will be able to get the next dose?
At the checkout stage they will be provided with a receipt that they received their first vaccination and the information on their second appointment will be on either that receipt or a card that we provide to individuals. Those individuals who have registered using an email address will also receive a confirmation by email. We do encourage people as much as possible to provide an email address, whether it be an email address for a relative or a friend, who can receive those emails on their behalf. It does help with ensuring that people have the confirmation.
Anything specific people should bring with them? Anything specific they should wear?
We do ask people to bring their health card with them or any type of government issued identification. It does help us ensure we’re immunizing the right people. We ask people wear a shirt or something they can roll up the sleeve for the immunization process. We do ask people wear a mask, following public health guidelines on physical distancing and sanitize.
It’s important for people to know when they’re making an appointment there are a number of clinics open in the region. There is, of course, the Boardwalk which is available, the Grand River Hospital immunization clinic was the first to open and is also available with the transition, also the Health Sciences Campus Clinic, Langs Community Health Centre in Cambridge and the Wellesley Vaccination Clinic in Wellesley. We’re trying to position clinics for convenient locations for clients to attend and to ramp up the immunization effort in our region.