Tuesday marked a major milestone in the fight against COVID-19 in the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPRDHU).

The first mass immunization clinic for the public opened at the Cobourg Community Centre at 9 a.m.

The 300 seniors who were vaccinated on Tuesday were 80 years of age or older and were contacted by their primary health-care provider.

Premier Doug Ford tours mass vaccination site at Cobourg Community Centre

Premier Doug Ford tours mass vaccination site at Cobourg Community Centre

One of them was Diane Korcsok of Millbrook, whose health-care provider is in Northumberland County.

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“I feel wonderful to be able to get the shot,” Korcsok said.

A few rows over, Ernie Johnson of Brighton received his first Pfizer shot.

“Great, I feel super! I was really looking forward to it. It couldn’t have come too soon,” Johnson said.

The clinic’s capacity is 800 patients per day depending on vaccine supply.

Organizers wanted to ease into the mass immunization site by only booking 300 on the first day to “iron out any bugs.”

“Especially with the patients coming in with this age group, we want to make sure that the flow is very smooth and we avoid the need for people to stand in long lineups,” said Adrienne Bell-Smith, executive director for Northumberland Family Health Team. “It is so exciting to be here today. There have been so many people working hard to get this up and running.”

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There are 32 stations for vaccinations at the site and the average total time from entrance to exit is about 20 minutes.

“That includes a 15-minute wait time after someone gets a vaccination,” Bell-Smith said. “What’s unique about this model is after they get their vaccination, they get to wait in place. In a traditional model, they would be moved to a waiting room to be monitored. So this means they can wait in one place. They don’t need to move after their vaccination.”

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Linda Davis, president and CEO of Northumberland Hills Hospital, said “so many hands have made this day possible.”

“Through the partnership of the Ontario Family Health Team, Town of Cobourg for this site, the Rotary for their support and the county, we have brought this clinic to life in a short time,” Davis said.

Through calls by primary health-care providers across Northumberland County, 2,900 seniors have been booked for an appointment at the site.

“We recognized the provincial booking system opened yesterday, but we wanted to get a running start on things,” added Davis.

Those born in 1941 or earlier without a primary health-care provider will need to book an appointment through the provincial booking portal.

The clinic will be open from Tuesday to Saturday and will act as one of six fixed sites in the HKPRDHU throughout the community vaccination process.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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