As of June 30, all vaccination clinics in our region welcomed drop-in appointments for those who are eligible for their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. During the week leading up to this announcement, several clinics hosted pop-ups/drop-in clinics with music, snacks and a lot of sunshine.
“It's been nice to see people who are so happy to see us at the clinics!" says Carol Tanner, a retired nurse who supports the vaccine site in Whistler, and was on-site for the first day of drop-ins. “Nurses are often the people you see when you or a loved one is feeling ill or scared, but when people step through those clinic doors and sit down beside us, they are really excited and happy."
These drop-in vaccination appointments represent another positive turning point in the pandemic, and VCH is happy to be in a position to offer residents their first doses at our clinics.
Here are some highlights from the first clinics.
The site staff worked efficiently to register and vaccinate hundreds of people with their first doses, alongside those who were already attending their pre-booked first and second-dose appointments.
Despite the heatwave, residents were in good spirits waiting for their shots, as staff ensured that lineups were kept to a minimum and shaded from the sun. As an added courtesy for those in line, musician Scott Verbeek played guitar nearby to provide entertainment while they waited.
People in line clapped and cheered for Scott as he finished each song, and many thanked both him and the staff for the calming presence of music as they prepared for their vaccination.
There was a community-oriented atmosphere on site as many people in line chatted with their neighbours and helped direct new arrivals to staff as needed, including a couple who helped translate for an elderly woman in her 80s who spoke only Cantonese and needed help to register for her second-dose. Not long after, her daughter and granddaughter arrived to chaperone her and they all chatted happily in line with their new friends who had stepped in to help
The clinic in North Vancouver welcomed both residents with appointments and people who were dropping in for their first dose. For some, it was a family affair.
“I did a drop in with my two kids and they were great at accommodating us," says Angie Howden-Duke. “The staff and the environment were lovely.
Angie, Nathan and Jackson Howden-Duke attend the ICBC drop in clinic on the North Shore
At the clinic in Whistler, Carol Turner, a retired nurse who supports the clinic made sure to maintain a safe and caring environment for Whistler residents coming to receive their vaccine and the immunization team.
“The team is supportive and we all care about each other. We're following protocols— and making sure people feel safe and well cared for is paramount to the work we are doing," says Carol.
Carol Tanner supports COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Whistler
Residents and staff at the ICBC clinic on the North Shore were surprised and delighted to be serenaded by mellow acoustic classics by local buskers Lenny Pallerstein and Alex Flock.
Local North Shore buskers, Lenny Pallerstein and Alex Flock
The first drop-in clinics weren't the only ones that have had musical entertainment. Members of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) treated soon-to-be-vaccinated residents to surprise performances on June 24 and 25 at the Vancouver Convention Centre COVID-19 vaccine clinic
Throughout the summer months, VCH and VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation are collaborating to inject spontaneity and joy into the vaccination experience. The VSO partnership will be the first of many throughout the summer, which will see both musical and other live performances from Vancouver's arts community.
“Every day, we see thousands of people receiving their COVID-19 vaccine and then hear them expressing relief, joy, gratitude and hope," says Bob Chapman, Interim Vice President, Vancouver Community at Vancouver Coastal Health. “We are excited to be partnering with the VGH & UBC Foundation as well as performers like the VSO to put into art form the beautiful energy and emotions our immunizers and staff experience all the time at our vaccine clinics."
The Powell River community has been enjoying music at the Powell River Recreation Complex vaccine clinic for quite some time now. Arthur Arnold, the music director of the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, is a world-renowned maestro and volunteers to play his cello at the clinic.
“I always try to use music as a communication to connect people and make them feel better," says Arthur. “I think that's our main task, to give and connect people through music."
Arthur Arnold plays his cello at the COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Powell River. “I hope the little bit I can give helps people and gives them a little ray of light."
To learn more about VCH's ongoing vaccination efforts and drop-in first dose appointments, visit: http://www.vch.ca/about-us/news/news-releases/all-vch-vaccination-clinics-now-welcome-drop-in-first-dose-appointments