Almost four months to the day it opened at Thompson Rivers University Williams Lake, Interior Health’s COVID-19 mass immunization clinic closed Friday, Aug. 13 with a ceremony.
A pop-up vaccine clinic will be offered at the Williams Lake Wholesale Club, 1000 South Lakeside Drive, from Monday, Aug. 16 to Friday, Aug. 27 and after that will relocate to public health on Borland Avenue.
Before saying an opening prayer and song, Williams Lake First Nation elder Linda Narcisse thanked everyone involved in running the clinic.
“I was just sitting inside, what a great energy,” Narcisse said. “I was watching all the nurses and the support workers helping to do the job that they need to do to protect our families, our communities, our towns. Right on. I would like to thank you for doing such a great job.”
She asked the Creator to bless each and everyone of the people involved with the clinic and to continue to do so.
“And bless your families back home because they are your support.”
WLFN councillor and principal of Little Chiefs Primary School JoAnne Moiese echoed Narcisse’s gratitude for being vaccinated and thanked everyone involved with the clinic and beyond during the pandemic.
“To the doctors, physicians, nurses, to all of our frontline workers, the assistants, the people that are in our long term care, in our hospitals and in our clinics I want to thank them for everything they have done in this last year,” Moiese said.
Encouraging people to continue to be vaccinated and those who have not to reach out to experts for advice that if they can be vaccinated, that they will if they are able to.
“I lost one of my dear aunts on my dad’s side of the family, the late Ella Gilbert from Canim Lake,” Moiese said. “One of the things that kept with me is my aunt saying, ‘this is a terrible disease, stay where you are, stay home, protect yourself.’”
Gordon Swan, deputy operations manager for Canadian Red Cross in Interior Health, presented blankets and freshly-picked tobacco to Narcisse and Moiese.
City Coun. Marnie Brenner thanked Thompson Rivers University for the space, Interior Health, WLFN and Canadian Red Cross and said it has been great to see everyone coming together.
“We live in a time when we have so many people that choose not to be vaccinated and I think it’s important to respect those wishes, but I think at the same time it is really important that we as councillors and leaders in community in our circle of influence we provide answers to questions and positive information about why you should get vaccinated,” she said. “And if there are reasons why people don’t get vaccinated we need to recognize that and accept people where they are at.”
Kelly Dillon, IH manager of primary care network and the First Nations liaison for the region, organized the ceremony which was held outside the clinic as there was a steady stream of members of the public showing up to be immunized.
“The pandemic has left us making sacrifices, it’s hurt, we’ve lost people that we loved and I think everyone here could agree that we are all working hard and the hard work is paying off,” Dillon said.
Hours for the clinic at Wholesale Club are Monday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursdays 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Fridays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.