CORNWALL, Ontario – During a media tour of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU)’s COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Benson Centre on Tuesday, May 18 Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, EOHU’s Medical Officer of Health, said he was optimistic that the region would reach herd immunity by the end of the summer, pointing to successes with reaching seniors. Dr. Roumeliotis explained that among residents aged 70 and older in the region, 100 per cent have at least received their first dose of the vaccine.
“I’m optimistic that we will have vaccinated 75 to 80 per cent of the population,” Dr. Roumeliotis said. “Most should have received their first dose by the end of the summer.”
Part of the success of this story is the now well oiled machines that are the EOHU vaccination clinics.
For the past few months, the EOHU has been running two clinics a day four to five times a week at six different locations across the region. Most of these clinics are taking place in municipal sports arenas such as in Casselman, Alexandria, Hawkesbury, and at the Benson Centre in Cornwall.
The clinics are staffed by volunteers, EOHU staff and members of the Cornwall and SD&G paramedics service. Among their volunteers there have been retired and active family medicine doctors, nurses and a range of others.
After booking their appointment on the provincial vaccination booking system, patients will be given a day and time to arrive for their appointment. Upon arrival, they will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms, and directed inside to a registration table.
The vaccines are loaded from their tiny vials into syringes by vaccine loaders. Vaccine loaders can get up to seven doses of the Pfizer version of the COVID-19 vaccine from a single vial. A volunteer then takes a tray of syringes to one of the 18 vaccinations stations at the Benson Centre. Shortly after registering, patients will be directed to a vaccination station and receive their dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. They will then be asked to wait in a waiting area for 15 minutes where volunteers monitor them for any adverse effects.
At the end of their waiting period, patients are able to leave and receive their vaccination certificate.
Dr. Roumeliotis says that from start to finish, the average process for vaccinating a patient is around 25 to 30 minutes. Dr. Roumeliotis said that a mass vaccine clinic like the one at the Benson Centre can vaccinate over 1,500 people a day.