Between 300 and 400 people a day have been getting the COVID-19 vaccine since the community clinic opened at Thompson Rivers University Williams Lake campus on Monday, April 12.
“For the most part we are noticing that people are so excited and so happy that it is their turn and that they are getting it,” said Rochelle Lamont, public health nurse team leader. “It is a really positive experience for the community, for the people coming, but also for the nurses that are giving it. We are just so excited.”
As she paused from preparing Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines Tuesday, her eyes filled with tears, and she said it is an honour for public health nurses to be involved with the vaccination program.
“This is what we do — immunize to protect. A pandemic is historic and to be able to do this and help the community is a career highlight for sure.”
Support has come from retired nurses and nurses from other departments wanting to help inoculate as many people as possible.
“We’ve been blessed with the support we’ve been receiving — it has really become a collective team effort to do this,” Lamont added.
Canadian Red Cross also has a team on site helping with the flow of the clinic by manning the parking lots, the entrance and area where people wait a mandatory 15 minutes after receiving the vaccine before leaving.
Lloyd and Pauline Schmutz of Williams Lake received their vaccines Tuesday from public health registered nurse Donna McKenzie.
Lloyd, 84, said he was very excited to finally receive it.
Pauline, 75, was more apprehensive, but in the end said she was also relieved to get it.
“People are great,” Mackenzie said, after she finished giving the couple their vaccines. “This is a sample of who we get to immunize.”
Since the COVID-19 vaccines were first administered in Williams Lake starting the third week of December, residents have received either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, Lamont confirmed.
Interior Health is asking the public to register online or phone 1-833-838-2323 to receive a confirmation number they will need to book a vaccine appointment.
Anyone born in 1976 or earlier can do so beginning Friday, April 16 a noon and anyone born in 1981 or earlier can do so on Monday, April 19 at noon. Aboriginal people 18-plus can register anytime as well as people who are clinically extremely vulnerable who received an invitation letter.