Vaccine Hunters Canada says it is closing its operations one year after its launch to help Canadians across the country track down COVID-19 vaccines.
The popular volunteer-run organization made the announcement in a news release Saturday.
“Exactly one year to the day that Vaccine Hunters Canada started operations, we are humbled to be quietly closing our doors,” the group said, thanking Canadians for their support.
“While Canada’s fight against COVID-19 isn’t over, we are happy that millions of Canadians are fully vaccinated with vaccines now being readily available for anyone who is looking.”
Vaccine Hunters Canada launched in March 2021 with an objective to help Canadians find vaccines.
The platform grew on social media, with accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and Discord. Its Twitter page has close to 265,000 followers.
Vaccine Hunters Canada grew in popularity to the point where the City of Toronto partnered with the team to help get shots into arms.
The group has received praise from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam.
“A year ago we were in a much different place than we were today…Vaccines were just introduced and that was a really amazing sort of beacon of hope for many people because for a year we’d all been at home with the worry of COVID around us,” Sue Motahedin, who worked as one of the volunteers told Global News’ Kabilan Moulitharan in an interview Sunday.
She said a year ago, public health units across Canada had different approaches to their vaccine distribution networks.
“Our role was really stepping in and helping people figure out what was going on in their own communities, who were eligible, who they could connect to, to find a vaccine, how to book a vaccine…There was a lot of confusion because this was new,” Motahedin said.
She said that with a team of volunteers across Canada the organization was able to help people make sense of a lot of the COVID-related information that the government and public health were sharing with the public.
“It was changing daily. And we did our best to make sure that as many people as possible saw the energy and effort that were put in trying to reach people,” said Motahedin.
In August 2021, five months into its launch, the organization that gained 100 volunteers started winding down its operation as it pivoted towards automated services.
“Thank you for all your support over the last year,” Vaccine Hunters Canada said on Saturday.
“The heart behind VHC is helping your community and finding ways to help others.
“We hope that everyone can find ways to work with their neighbours, communities and families to make this world a better place.”
To date, Canada has an 85 per cent full vaccination rate, 89 per cent of eligible Canadians have at least received one dose and almost 47 per cent have got their booster shots.
— with files from Global News’ Kabilan Moulitharan and Aaron D’Andrea.