The Algoma Ontario Health Team’s (AOHT) COVID-19 Community Vaccine Hub opened its doors today at the GFL Memorial Gardens. Working in partnership with Algoma Public Health, the COVID-19 Community Vaccine Hub administered more than 500 vaccinations to long-term care staff and essential caregivers at today’s clinic alone – with a total of 1,301 scheduled appointments through to Sunday.
“Planning for this community-wide vaccination hub has been underway for some time and has involved input and collaboration from many local healthcare partners,” says Erik Landriault, Director of Integrated Care at the Algoma Ontario Health Team. “The tremendous success of this first day is a testament to the tireless dedication and commitment of our community’s healthcare providers.”
While the Vaccine Hub is limited to staff and essential caregivers of long-term care homes this weekend, the Hub will expand to provide vaccinations to the next highest priority populations in the coming weeks. These include:
- Adults 80 years of age and over
- Indigenous adults 55 years of age and over
- Essential caregivers
- Priority healthcare workers (as identified by the provincial government)
The COVID-19 Community Vaccine Hub is following the Ontario Ministry of Health guidelines and phased vaccination approach for booking appointments. Once the next dates at the Community Vaccine Hub have been scheduled, an announcement will be made inviting those individuals in the next group to book an appointment.
Additionally, it is important to note that the timing of vaccination for priority groups continues to depend on supply.
“As more vaccines become available, we look forward to building on this weekend’s success with future Vaccine Hub dates in the coming days, weeks, and months,” says Landriault.”
A reminder to the community that vaccination is by appointment only. Individuals are asked to talk to their primary healthcare providers or seek out information from Algoma Public Health’s COVID-19 vaccine webpage if they have any questions about vaccination.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Who can get vaccinated at the COVID-19 Community Vaccine Hub?
The Hub is following the Ontario Ministry of Health guidelines and phased vaccination approach. At this time, we have allocated all doses to staff and essential caregivers of long-term care homes and scheduled individuals identified by long-term care homes in Sault Ste. Marie for March 5-7, 2021. If you are considered an essential caregiver in this phase, you will have already been contacted to book an appointment. As supply increases, the Hub will expand to include additional priority populations such as adults 80 years of age and over, priority healthcare workers, Indigenous adults, and more; and later, the general population of Sault Ste. Marie and area.
You can find more information on the Ministry of Health’s phased vaccination approach here.
How can I book my appointment?
At this time, we are working directly with eligible individuals to book appointments. Please stay tuned for booking updates as the Hub works through the Ministry of Health vaccination phases.
Can I come in without an appointment?
No. The Hub is operating by appointment only.
Is the COVID-19 Community Vaccine Hub accessible?
Yes, the GFL Memorial Gardens arena is accessible. The accessible entrance with an elevator is located to the right of the main stairs, and the accessible exit is located near the staired exit (will be marked). Wheelchairs will be available for those who don’t feel comfortable walking the concourse.
Is the Hub the only place I can get vaccinated?
At this time, the Hub has been designated as the Mass Immunization Site for the City of Sault Ste. Marie that will be providing large scale capacity to safely and quickly immunize a large proportion of the population. Mobile teams are also planning outreach to priority populations. Once vaccine supply expands, there will be additional locations offering vaccination throughout the city, such as local pharmacies and clinics. Individuals are encouraged to access vaccination wherever is easiest once they are eligible.
Where is the COVID-19 Community Vaccine Hub taking place?
The Hub will be located at the GFL Memorial Gardens (269 Queen St. E., Sault Ste. Marie, ON) on the upper-level concourse. You can enter through the main door and will then be directed to screening before entering the concourse.
When is the COVID-19 Community Vaccine Hub happening?
Currently, the Hub is set to operate Friday, March 5, to Sunday, March 7 by appointment only. Further dates will be announced as they become available.
How do I prepare for my appointment?
Please bring your health card to your appointment, wear a t-shirt under your jacket, and always wear your mask. Do not enter the Hub until 5 minutes before your appointment. Do not take Tylenol™ or Advil™ before your appointment. If you have already filled out a consent form, please bring it to your appointment. If you haven’t, that’s okay!
How long will my appointment take?
It will take approximately 10 minutes to get vaccinated, and then you must wait 15 minutes before leaving the Hub. You will also want to leave time for check-in and pre-vaccine screening when you arrive at the Hub, as well as check out before you leave the Hub. Please do not enter the Hub until 5 minutes before your appointment.
Who will be administering vaccines?
The Hub is a collaborative initiative between many local organizations. Vaccines will be administered by clinicians with experience administering vaccines in the community, including physicians, nurses, midwives, paramedics, and medical students.
What vaccine will be administered at the Hub?
At this time, we are administering the Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine at the Hub. For information on vaccines, please visit Algoma Public Health’s Vaccine Webpage.
How can I learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine?
What precautions are available in case of reaction or additional medical requirements?
Serious side effects after receiving the vaccine are rare. However, the Hub has two designated first aid stations that are equipped to support any additional medical needs of attendees.
Where will mobile outreach units be located?
Mobile outreach planning is underway but not scheduled for launch at this time. This initiative will be implemented in accordance with the Ministry of Health’s phased vaccination approach once vaccine supply is more readily available.
Will I be receiving proof of vaccination?
Yes. You will have the option of receiving a hard copy and emailed copy of proof of vaccination when you check out of the Hub.
The AOHT would like to extend thanks to all of the partners supporting the Hub:
- Algoma District Medical Group
- Algoma Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic
- Algoma Public Health
- Algoma Residential Community Hospice (ARCH)
- City of Sault Ste. Marie; GFL Memorial Gardens
- Group Health Centre
- Midwives of Algoma
- Northern Ontario School of Medicine
- Sault Area Hospital
- Sault Ste. Marie Paramedic Services
- Superior Family Health Team