The Algoma Vaccination Support Council (AVSC) has announced it will receive a $15,000 donation from Tenaris to support vaccination efforts in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.
The AVSC was established by the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce and the STRIVE Young Professionals Group, and is comprised of more than 40 local businesses, organizations, and community stakeholders. The Council aims to raise vaccination awareness and assist local and regional vaccine providers and hubs by providing sponsored lunches to its daily volunteers manning the vaccination clinics and offering transportation assistance to individuals to-and-from vaccine appointments through a ride program established with PUC Services.
Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce President Michael Stone notes that in addition to supporting the team members and volunteers at our local vaccination hub and regional clinics, donations, like the one from Tenaris, also benefit local businesses hit hard by the pandemic.
“When the AVSC provides lunches and snacks to the team members and volunteers at our area hub and clinics, we are sourcing all of it from area restaurants, delis, and caterers,” says Stone. “The food service sector has been one of the hardest hit during the pandemic, facing unique and disproportionate challenges compared to many sectors. To date, we have placed orders at, and helped support, more than 30 local and area food service businesses and restaurants. Those businesses then reinvest locally, sourcing much of their inventory and supply, as well as paying staff.”
The AVSC has supported vaccination efforts at the GFL Memorial Gardens Vaccine Hub and at the Sault Ste. Marie Indian Friendship Centre, as well as clinics in Garden River First Nation, Batchewana First Nation, Thessalon and Thessalon First Nation, Richards Landing and Blind River.
“As a company, we are committed to the health and safety of our employees, our operations and within our communities. We believe that through vaccination we will regain normalcy,” says Ricardo Prosperi, Tenaris President in Canada. “We applaud the work of the council and leadership of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce and STRIVE YPG. With our donation, we aim to help the many team members and volunteers who are running the daily mass vaccination clinics and sharing information about the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine to keep our community safe.”
Tenaris is one of the founding members of the Algoma Vaccination Support Council with its Health and Safety Manager, Bhavna Sikka an active member of the group. The company has shared its best practices and communications materials with the council to heighten the message of safety in day-to-day routines, in and outside of the work environment.
In addition to encouraging vaccination, the AVSC is preparing to launch an initiative on rapid testing for COVID-19 to identify asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic cases to stem the spread of cases that may otherwise be missed. The program is being rolled out through Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade throughout Ontario, and the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce hopes to launch its program in June.
Tenaris has been part of the Provincial Antigen Screening Program since February and was among the first employers in Sault Ste. Marie to offer voluntary, rapid testing to its employees to reduce risks and limit the virus’ spread.
“We would also like to thank the Algoma Public Health unit, its health professionals and the many volunteers who are helping to implement the Ontario vaccination program,” says Prosperi.