COVID-19 vaccination clinic to open in Barrie once supply arrives

Priority to be given to long term care healthcare workers

Short on time? Here’s what you need to know:
-Barrie’s COVID-19 vaccination centre will open once supply arrives, and will operate out of the former police station on Sperling Drive
-Priority will be given to long-term care healthcare workers; the centre will not be open to the broader public for now

When Barrie begins receiving doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the days to come, the priority will be placed on long-term care health care workers.

A COVID-19 immunization clinic is expected to open in Barrie soon; the exact date is dependent on the delivery of the vaccine, but the province has indicated that should be expected within two weeks’ time. The centre, the result of a partnership between the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU), Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) and the City of Barrie, will be based out of the current RVH COVID-19 testing centre on Sperling Drive. It will serve all of Simcoe and Muskoka.

“This is wonderful news for all of us and cause for real optimism, but it is a complex endeavour,” said Dr. Charles Gardner, SMDHU’s medical officer of health. “It will take some time for us, working together with our partners, to roll out mass immunization for all of our residents who want it.”

SMDHU nurses will administer the vaccine to a limited number of people in the priority group at first. It will not be broadly available to the public until sometime in 2021.

RELATED: BARRIE’S RVH TO BE AMONG HOSPITALS NEXT TO RECEIVE COVID-19 VACCINE DOSES, EXPECTED WITHIN TWO WEEKS

“In the meantime, it is critical that we don’t let our guard down,” continued Gardner. “We must continue to practice those public health measures that will keep us and our loved ones safe until we are all able to be vaccinated. Wear a mask, physically distance from those outside our households, wash your hands frequently, stay home if sick, and get tested for COVID-19 if you have symptoms, are still critical to reducing and preventing transmission of the virus.”

Beyond long term care health care workers, priority will be given to hospital employees, adults in Indigenous communities, and those receiving chronic home health care.

Once shipments arrive in Barrie, they will be safely stored at RVH. “We have what is required, which is a -70 ultra-cold freezer, and therefore we’ve met the requirements, in fact, we have two of those freezers available if in fact, we have more vaccine than a single freezer can hold,” RVH CEO Janice Skot told Barrie 360. “This was brought in by the federal government through the provincial government to RVH this week.” Each freezer has the capacity for 100,000 doses.