Starting Monday, the Vernon Recreation Centre Auditorium will be converted into a COVID-19 vaccination clinic.
In support of the province’s vaccination efforts, the city is working with Interior Health (IH) to establish facilities for residents to get their shots, and they’ve landed on using the main floor of the auditorium and the Sunset breakout room, both of which will be closed to the public March 8.
The temporary vaccination clinic will be in place for about eight months or until IH indicates it is no longer needed, according to a Thursday city press release.
“The use of the auditorium for the vaccination clinics will have some impact on public usage, however, Recreation Services has already identified alternative locations for most programs and staff will be in touch with user groups to discuss possible alternative locations for their events. Events must meet the Provincial Health Orders regarding safe, play environments,” said Doug Ross, director of Recreation Services.
Mayor Victor Cumming said the use of the auditorium as a vaccination clinic will be for a limited time, and “the benefits to the Greater Vernon community outweigh any inconvenience that may occur.”
Interior Health is launching the next phase of the province’s COVID-19 immunization plan, which involves a step-up in vaccination rates, beginning with those most vulnerable to the virus.
Once the clinics are up and running, those attending will be encouraged to use the curling rink parking lot off 39th Avenue and access the temporary entrance at the north end of the auditorium.
Those attending the Aquatic Centre or recreation programs will continue access the rec centre through the main entrance.
As of March 8, booking will be open to seniors age 90 and over and Aboriginal seniors age 65 and over by calling 1-877-740-7747 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.
The age eligibility of those who can call to book appointments will change over time.
“I encourage all residents in the Vernon area to make your appointment when you are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination. This immunization plan is designed to save lives, stop the spread of COVID-19 and move us all toward a return to pre-COVID days,” said Dr. Karin Goodison, Interior Health medical health officer.
Immunize BC’s website has information on dose timing, vaccine allergies, timing, and more.
Updated program information is available online at gvrec.ca, and the spring and summer active living guide will be coming out on March 12.