What to expect when Island mass vaccination clinics open on Monday

Twenty immunization clinics will be opening across Vancouver Island on Monday as the largest mass vaccination program in history is underway.

Twenty immunization clinics will be opening across Vancouver Island on Monday as the largest mass vaccination program in history is underway.

“Words cannot describe just how incredibly, just emotional and powerful it feels,” said Dr. Mike Benusic, a medical health officer with Island Health. “How we’ve designed the mass vaccination sites across the Island is to be able to be dynamic, that we can scale up and scale down the number of staff we have and the number of vaccines we’re providing a day.”

Benusic said they’re prepared for the changes that will come with the rollout. The province is currently in Phase Two of its immunization plan.

The curling floor at the Archie Browning Sports Centre in Esquimalt will be one of five clinics in the Greater Victoria area.

“We are expecting to have about 360 people come through a day to receive vaccine,” Benusic said. “We’ll have four to six immunizers working at a time and what that will mean is they’ll be doing about 12 vaccinations per hour.”

READ MORE: Here’s where Island Health’s vaccination clinics are located

A full list of vaccine clinics can be found here.

Smaller communities that don’t have a vaccination clinic will see rapid clinics set up by Island Health instead.

Here’s what you can expect if you are going to a mass immunization clinic to get your vaccine.

Before your appointment

Once your age group is eligible, residents can phone the Island Health call centre in order to book a date and time for their immunization. Vancouver Islanders can register by calling 1-833-348-4787, with timeslots available between 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily.

It should be noted that the vaccination clinics will not accept walk-ins.

Bring a mask and wear a shirt that has short sleeves or can be easily rolled up, Benusic said. Make sure you have your care card or photo ID with you.

Prepare to arrive no earlier than 10 minutes before your appointment.

“We know everyone’s very eager to receive their vaccine but we have to have a very efficient model to get people in and out so we can’t have people showing up too early,” Benusic explained.

When you get to the clinic

Once you step into the clinic, you will enter the lineup for registration.

This is where they will ask you some questions and check your photo ID.

“What you would expect is to be asked questions to make sure you don’t have active COVID disease,” Benusic said.

After you complete your registration, you will re-join the line for the vaccine.

Once you get to the front, you will be directed to one of the booths.

They will ask you a few more questions to confirm your eligibility when you are seated and then administer the shot.

After you get your vaccine

You will be directed to a waiting area where you will be seated and monitored for 15 minutes.

“Wait for 15 minutes to be monitored to ensure there are no adverse events happening afterwards, and then free to go,” said Benusic.

If you feel unwell, you may be moved to a 30-minute monitoring area instead.

Otherwise, Benusic says you should be in and out within 30 minutes.

Jasmine BalaJasmine Bala

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