April 28, 2021 – When the COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Renfrew County, the Arnprior vaccination team was ready to get shots in the right arms as quickly as possible.
Since the team held its first community clinic in early March, 4,125 doses have been administered at the Arnprior clinics as part of the regional rollout led by Renfrew County and District Health Unit (RCDHU).
“Because of the strength of our collaborative team, our vaccination clinics continue to become even more efficient,” said Karen Simpson, Executive Director, Arnprior & District Family Health Team (ADFHT) and co-lead of the local vaccination rollout. “After more than a year living through this pandemic, it’s been incredibly satisfying to have the chance to provide our community members with extra protection against COVID-19 and some much-needed hope.”
The local vaccination clinics are a team effort between ADFHT, Arnprior Regional Health (ARH), The County of Renfrew Paramedic Service, and The Town of Arnprior with support and leadership from RCDHU.
“Our community vaccination response is another great example of how our local healthcare system and key partners have strengthened our partnerships to protect the health and safety of our residents during the pandemic,” said Eric Hanna, President and CEO, ARH.
The drive-thru model
In the early days of the rollout, the Arnprior team trialled a drive-thru model and a walk-thru model. The County of Renfrew Paramedic Renfrew took the lead in using artificial intelligence software to simulate a drive-thru vaccination model that mapped out how to deliver a continuous flow for greater efficiency.
After trialling both approaches, the team decided to stick with the drive-thru clinics hosted in the Nick Smith Centre parking lot. This has provided residents with a convenient and safe way to get their jabs and the team has continued to increase their efficiency and can now do 110 vaccinations each hour.
The Pfizer-AstraZeneca hybrid clinics
This month, Arnprior held two double-header Pfizer-Astra Zeneca drive-thru clinics at the Nick Smith Centre with 775 individuals receiving the Pfizer vaccine and more than 750 receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine thanks to this new hybrid clinic approach. The team has returned to holding its Pfizer-only clinic but based on future AstraZeneca supply, it will be ready to relaunch the clinics.
“I would like to personally thank all of our five Renfrew County and District Planning Tables for their hard work and dedication in ensuring that our vaccination clinics have efficiently reached as many residents of Renfrew County and District as possible with the supply we have been given,” said Dr. Rob Cushman, Acting Medical Officer of Health, RCDHU. “As a result of the partnership and collaboration, our primary care providers were able to successfully use our entire allotment of AstraZeneca in two weeks, one of the fastest AstraZeneca rollouts in the province.”
The community support
A core part of each vaccination clinic includes a team of 15 to 20 volunteers. In total, the local vaccination clinics are supported by approximately 60 local volunteers from the ARH Auxiliary, ARH Patient and Family Advisory Council, ADFHT, and Nu-Tech Precision Metals. The volunteers take on different roles at the clinics including screening patients, wayfinding support and administrative tasks.
“When we put out the call for volunteer support, there was no hesitation from our volunteer groups who already give a great deal back to the community through the Auxiliary, PFAC and other local volunteer initiatives,” said Susan Leach, VP, Patient Care and Chief Nursing Executive ARH and co-lead of the local vaccination rollout.
The vaccination team has also enjoyed delicious and generous food donations from local restaurants including Mama Rosa, Domino’s Pizza, Tim Hortons, The Cupboard, Sweet and Sassy and Valley Roots – and the much-appreciated 30 rain ponchos donated by Canadian Tire.
To learn about the current eligible groups for vaccination or to book your appointment, visit www.rcdhu.com.