Cooper, a St. John Ambulance therapy dog, will be on hand at the Vernon Recreation Centre on Saturdays in October to help those who may feel anxiety about receiving a COVID-19 vaccination. (Contributed)

Cooper, a St. John Ambulance therapy dog, will be on hand at the Vernon Recreation Centre on Saturdays in October to help those who may feel anxiety about receiving a COVID-19 vaccination. (Contributed)

Therapy dogs help relieve stress at Vernon vaccination clinic

Two St. John Ambulance therapy dogs will be on hand at Vernon Rec Centre Saturdays in October to help with anxious patients

They are cute, cuddly, relaxed, and there to help.

Cooper and Cruise, St. John Ambulance therapy dogs, will be visiting the Vernon Recreation Centre immunization clinics Saturdays in October, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., to help those who are delaying or avoiding vaccination because of anxiety or fear about needles.

“Our therapy dogs are true experts in spreading joy and have proven throughout B.C.’s vaccine rollout so far to be a welcoming presence for those experiencing nerves or anxiety around needles,” said Ty Speer, chief executive officer of St. John Ambulance. “Our whole team is proud to support Interior Health’s vaccine efforts and we’re thrilled that Cruise and Cooper can provide this vital source of comfort every Saturday for the Vernon community.”

For many people, anxiety can be a barrier to getting the COVID-19 vaccine. All immunizers are trained and can help you get your vaccine safely and easily. Here are some tips:

• Let your immunizer know that you experience stress or anxiety with needles or injections;

• Your immunizer can help you find a comfortable position. If you have a history of fainting or are worried about fainting, you can receive your vaccine laying down;

• If you are more comfortable sitting up, your immunizer can help you focus on breathing and distracting exercises, or you can have a conversation;

• You can bring your own distractions, like music, videos, or reading materials.

People can get their first or second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by dropping into an immunization clinic or making an appointment.

To make an appointment, register online by visiting the provincial website at www.getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca/, call 1‑833‑838‑2323, or visit a Service BC office listed here, and then book an appointment.

For a list of all Interior Health COVID-19 immunization clinics and other resources visit:

https://news.interiorhealth.ca/news/covid-19-vaccines/

READ MORE: St. John Ambulance providing ‘pawsitive’ support with virtual therapy dog event

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roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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