SOUTH DUNDAS – Another 600 people received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine at the Morrisburg Arena May 10th. The Eastern Ontario Health Unit partnered with the Municipality of South Dundas to offer the clinic, the first held in the municipality.
The clinic operated between eight and 10 vaccination stations throughout the day, averaging about 12 doses per hour each.
EOHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis explained that clinics like Morrisburg’s are limited in size to about 600 people per day because of physical distancing requirements.
One-third of the space on the arena floor was taken up by screening and registration, another third of the floor was dedicated for a waiting area. People receiving a vaccine dose at the clinic had to wait for 15 minutes in case of any adverse reactions.
Throughout the day there were volunteers from South Dundas Fire and Emergency Services, service clubs like the local Lions Clubs, and South Dundas municipal staff, to help with guiding people through the vaccination centre.
“We couldn’t do this in a school gym,” he said. “It’s not like H1N1 clinics where people could be spaced close together while they wait.”
Most of the EOHU clinics held so far are in hockey arenas. The exceptions are Cornwall and Hawkesbury where larger recreation spaces are used.
There will be more clinics offered as more supply becomes available. Increasing supply of vaccine is still an issue he said.
“We could easily ramp up our clinics to five locations a day, but I would use up my week’s supply in a day,” Roumeliotis explained. “If we get a surprise delivery of more vaccines, we can open up more spaces.”
He said he expects more clinics to be in Morrisburg in the future, especially as vaccine doses begin to be administered to younger age groups.
Last week, Health Canada approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for youth who are between 12 and 15 years old. No date was provided for the next Morrisburg clinic.
Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader