Medical personnel & assisting volunteers are administering 800 to 900 vaccinations daily

Article and images by Bill Hornbostel

Above image: (L-R)Gord Ley, Anita Anand & Paul Allen

Anita Anand, the federal Minister of Public Services and Procurement, visited the COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Cobourg Community Centre on July 13. Before she toured the site, she had a private meeting with the orange-shirted clinic volunteers to thank them for their work.

The hockey arena at the CCC has been turned into a mass vaccination clinic that handles between eight hundred and nine hundred vaccinations per day. Automated temperature sensors by the entrance check for fever, and those getting vaccinated are directed to a seating area with wood and plexiglass barriers that allow vaccinators to move quickly between patients.

Paul Allen, Anand’s guide through the clinic, spoke about the setup, which was adopted from the Waterloo Health Unit. “We’ve initiated this kind of a setup here which allows us to get the chairs a little closer,” said Allen, adding, “All the material was donated locally and constructed by volunteers.”

Anand went into one of the hockey pad’s changing rooms, which serves as the staging area for filling the syringes for the vaccine, before being shown the great wall of stickies with notes of thanks to the workers of the clinic. “More than one of those yellow stickies said how efficient it is, and that’s how I feel,” said Anand after the tour.

Anita Anand and the wall of stickies

“We’re very proud of the fact that anytime somebody walks through this building, they’re accompanied by somebody from the minute they come in the door to the minute they leave,” said Allen. “It’s been noticeable; the public has really appreciated it.”

Following the tour, Anand answered questions from the media. On the question of how the Government of Canada is preparing for future needs, including the possibility of boosters, Anand stated that the government has ordered another ninety-five million vaccine doses (44 million from Moderna, 51 million from Pfizer).

“In addition to those mRNA vaccines,” continued Anand, “we also have a contract in place with Pfizer for the provision of boosters and any enhanced vaccine that they may bring to market. And so, that is for 65 million vaccines over two years. In other words, we are very well supplied.”

The second question Anand answered was about what hurdles the government has had recently, and how it has overcome them. “The reality is that there are continued strains on global supply chain because of the very high demand across the world across countries for vaccines,” she said.

“What we have done,” continued Anand, “is to continue to press the suppliers with whom we have contracts to make their deliveries and to make them on time.” She added, “That’s why we have fifty-five million vaccines in the country right now. That’s why we will hit 68 million before the end of July. And that’s why we’re number one in the G20 and the G7.”

The third question was about whether Canada might be hoarding vaccines. Anand responded that Canada has been following a two-track approach. “The first track is making sure that we have vaccines in the country for Canadians,” she said. “That was the purpose of our contracts at the very beginning of this pandemic to make sure that Canadians had access to vaccines.”

Anita Anand talks to volunteers

Anand continued, “The second track is one that we do not forget either. Yesterday we announced 17.7 million vaccines will be donated to COVAX, the multilateral, pooled procurement mechanism. And we will see those vaccines then distributed to developing countries.”

“We are also one of the leading contributors to the COVAX, facility having contributed over $300 million to both arms of the COVAX facility. And, finally, our Minister of International Development, Karina Gould, is taking a leading role in the governance of Codex. So, my role is to bring vaccines into Canada for Canadians, and our government’s role is to continue to make sure that we are supporting the developing world as well as Canadians, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”


Editor’s Note: The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPR) is inviting anyone 12 years of age and older to the mass immunization clinic in Cobourg for a first OR second dose of COVID-19 vaccine. No appointments are necessary – walk-ins are welcome!

(Cobourg Community Centre – 750 D’Arcy Street, Cobourg – 10 am to 4 pm).

“We are receiving a lot more vaccine which means we can offer more appointments and opportunities for people to get vaccinated,” says Dr. Natalie Bocking, Medical Officer of Health for the HKPR District Health Unit. “Our goal is to vaccinate as many residents as possible so we can all be protected from COVID and not have to see any further shutdowns, illness or deaths.”

Some individuals may still prefer an appointment, and there are many spots still available through the provincial booking system for Health Unit clinics throughout the region. As well, area residents can get vaccinated at local pharmacies, or through “pop-up” clinics being hosted by local hospitals, family health teams and community health teams. Walk-ins are also welcome at many of these clinics.

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