Home to thousands of local hockey games each season, the Bob Birnie Arena in Pointe-Claire has a new purpose. Its ice rink has been transformed into a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic.
“We feel ready and we feel quite excited,” said Dashka Coupet, Bob Birnie mass vaccination clinic site manager.
Around 60 employees and additional volunteers will welcome the first patients through the door on Monday. Open from 8 am to 8 p.m., seven days a week, the site can vaccinate up to 1,500 people per day.
“It’s filling up, we’re not at full capacity for the entire week but every day we’re getting increases so I’m actually quite confident that we’ll be reaching our numbers on a daily basis,” said Coupet.
After working on the project for months, Coupet says watching it come to fruition is like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel — she even referred to it as her baby.
“It’s very dear to our hearts, it’s very close to our heart, to our community. It affects our employees, our families, our neighbours, so it’s very important to us,” she said.
The clinic is not only meaningful to the staff, but to seniors awaiting their first dose. Eighty-five-year-old Ronald Yeoman says he’s looking forward to having more normalcy in his everyday life.
“I’m happy because it will help me get back to a little more normal,” Yeoman said.
Montrealers who are 80 and older were allowed to book an appointment for their first dose of the vaccine starting Friday, one day after the province opened registration to members of the general public born in 1936 or earlier.
When Yeoman heard the announcement, he did not hesitate to book his appointment. The senior is rolling up his sleeve for his first dose on Monday morning.
The mass vaccination sites will be open for months, Coupet said until everyone who wants to get vaccinated receives both doses.
— With files from Global’s Kalina LaframboiseView link »