The first shots were administered Monday at Kingston’s new mass-vaccination clinic at the Invista Centre. But public health says the rink is not ready to handle big crowds just yet.
In addition to waiting for more COVID-19 vaccines, they’re still in the “soft launch” phase with the online booking system before it goes live in two weeks.
Meanwhile, local media was given a tour of the facility prior to it’s opening.
Kingston’s mayor as well as the area’s medical officer of health were also on hand. When fully up and running, it’ll be the region’s largest vaccination clinic.
Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson said the opening represented a milestone.
“The Invista Centre was, of course, built with the idea in mind of being able to promote health and well bring of our community and I can think of no greater purpose for promoting the health and well being of our community than being able to be a host for a vaccination centre,” the mayor said.
Dr. Kieran Moore, medical officer of health for Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington agreed, saying the Gardiners Road facility is a wonderful place to be able to immunize people.
“It’s central with in the KFL&A region, it supports South Frontenac as well as the City of Kingston. It is our plan that we should be able to immunize 3,000 people a day at this location,” Moore said.
The Kingston-area unit is one of six across Ontario involved in a soft launch for the province’s new online vaccination booking portal. The idea is to test run the system two weeks before it’s up and running across Ontario.
“We’re sending out individual invitations to a very defined population to register and book an appointment in that Covax tool and some may be doing that (or) have done that this evening,” Moore said.
“They’ll verify with their OHIP number that the request to make that booking is in fact for themselves and that will be done seamlessly electronically. So we’re doing that this week to inform the province for their launch on March 15.”
Something like the Invista Centre clinic can’t come soon enough, as a variant of concern surfaced in the Kingston-area on Friday. Moore says there are two cases.
“They couldn’t have picked it up with in KFL&A, they had come from the GTA. They’re isolating, there’s no risk to the community at present and the exact type of variant will normally take around two weeks,” Moore said.
“And we don’t have the exact type of variant but if you were a betting person you’d say it was the B.1.1.7 variant, which is what is really spreading rapidly in the GTA area at present.”
The Invista Centre is just one of the facilities in the region preparing to host vaccine clinics. The W.J. Henderson Arena in Amherstview is another venue, as is the Scrathcona Paper Centre in Napanee.
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