Massimo Calabrese is the organizer behind the COVID-19 clinics at Paradise Cinemas. Williams Lake mayor and council unanimously approved his recommendation at an Oct. 19 meeting that they publicly encourage everyone to get vaccinated. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Massimo Calabrese is the organizer behind the COVID-19 clinics at Paradise Cinemas. Williams Lake mayor and council unanimously approved his recommendation at an Oct. 19 meeting that they publicly encourage everyone to get vaccinated. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Williams Lake City Council endorses recommendation encouraging residents to get vaccinated

Massimo Calabrese made the request Oct. 19

Williams Lake mayor and council have supported a recommendation to publicly encourage the community to get vaccinated against COVID-19 after being encouraged to do so by a resident who has helped hundreds get the shot.

Drop-in vaccination clinics at Paradise Cinemas will continue into next month, Massimo Calabrese said at an Oct. 19 council meeting.

“I’m really just the guy that had the idea in the first place, and it’s been great to see it all come together,” he said, thanking Interior Health (IH), the Canadian Red Cross and Paradise Cinemas.

According to Calabrese, more than 850 doses have been administered at the movie theatre since Saturday, Aug. 21.

These efforts alone, he told council, mean just under eight per cent of the eligible population in Williams is now partially or fully vaccinated. Anywhere from 100 to 150 people have attended each clinic.

“I think it is time for our mayor and councillors release their own joint statement calling on the people of Williams Lake to get vaccinated against COVID-19,” Calabrese said, noting he believes the more individuals are informed, the more likely they are to feel comfortable getting vaccinated.

“I think the city can play a key role in this by having our local leadership take a clear public stance and encourage people to get vaccinated and have that message reach a wider audience.”

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson has encouraged people to get vaccinated in his columns published by the Williams Lake Tribune, Calabrese noted.

In an online council column posted Thursday, Oct. 21, Quesnel mayor and council went on record of the need for more people to get vaccinated.

City of Williams Lake executive assistant Kim Dressler said the city has shared information on vaccination clinics provided at the Williams Lake Public Health Unit and Paradise Cinemas on its website as well as social media pages.

“The city continues to work with Megan Butler, the newly-appointed project lead for mass immunization in the Cariboo, to receive current information that the city can share on its website and social media platforms,” Dressler said.

“We have posted clinic information posters at city buildings and include vaccine clinic information in our city page publication in the Tribune as space permits.”

Read More: Vaccine passports to be required at all minor hockey games in Williams Lake

Coun. Scott Nelson said a debt of gratitude is owed to Calabrese.

“In the last 48 hours, we’ve seen a lot of different communities taking a lot of political decisions on this right now,” he added at the Oct. 19 council meeting.

In a news release, the City of Kamloops announced that all city employees, contractors, and volunteers will have to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 15.

The City of Vancouver will require all staff to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 6. through a new staff policy that does not apply to elected officials, including members of council who are voluntarily following the intent of it.

Staff with the city of Williams Lake, according to Nelson, have been encouraged by their union to get vaccinated.

“Saying that, I think that council needs to have a review whether or not we’re going to mandate that inside the city of Williams Lake…as well as a larger step to encouraging that for people for people to get vaccinated,” he said.


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COVID-19vaccinesWilliams Lake