Loading ...

Quiet COVID-19 vaccination centres suggest it’s time to shift gears, experts say


One week after the Quebec government opened up walk-in clinics for the COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine, staff at some West Island clinics are wondering where everyone went.

On Wednesday afternoon, Bob Birnie Arena in Pointe-Claire was nearly empty and it was much the same at the Dollard Civic Centre.

Site Manager for the West Island Health Authority Dashka Coupet says it’s not too concerning, but she urges those who are eligible to go get vaccinated now, while it’s quiet.

“We still have availabilities throughout our sites, so that’s why we’re encouraging everybody to grab the last ones that we have,” says Coupet.

Read more: Amid AstraZeneca concerns, Trudeau tells Canadians to take the ‘first vaccine’ they’re offered

She adds if you’re still feeling hesitant, it’s important to educate yourself and ask questions. “We’re here to help. We can answer all your questions, but you need to do your research.”

Dashka adds she expects it to get busier in the coming weeks as more vaccine doses arrive and mass vaccination begins.

As of Wednesday, essential workers and patients with chronic illnesses across the province are able to book appointments through their doctor, pharmacist or Clic Santé.

Click to play video: Volunteers band together online to help Canadians book COVID-19 vaccine appointments

Although there is some concern over the lack of people showing up to get their vaccine, some experts say in order to move on, it’s time for the province to rethink its strategy and shift gears.

“The pandemic is raging around us and we need to move very quickly now to use vaccines to try to control transmission as oppose to protect vulnerability,” says Dr. Catherine Hankins, co-chair of the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force.

“With Clic Santé we have a good appointment system and we’ve got supplies coming in.”

Read more: COVID-19 vaccinations by postal code begin as Ontario targets hot spot neighbourhoods

Hankins says Quebec should begin to seriously consider mobile vaccine sites, similar to those offered in Ontario hot spot neighbourhoods.

“Let’s get [vaccines] to where people are and let’s get people to come to where they are.”

Hankins used the vaccination pilot project in Cote St. Luc as a good example of what the Quebec government needs to expand on.

For now, she urges all who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine to go get it. To date, Quebec has administered more than 2 million doses.

Click to play video: Ipsos poll: Type of COVID-19 vaccine instrumental in whether or Canadians will get it