Interior shot of our vaccine clinic at Centennial College

Heroes delivering hope at Scarborough vaccine clinics

The arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine has been like sunshine breaking through the dark veil of the pandemic, bringing warmth and hope to our community. Thanks to the multidisciplinary group of SHN staff and physicians, Centennial College, and community organizations, Scarborough’s vaccination clinics are set to play their part in bringing on brighter days.

SHN’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Team forged the path to create a brand new vaccine clinic at Centenary Hospital. The team – made up of pharmacy, purchasing, professional practice, project management, facilities, support services, information management, information technology, registration, and communications staff, as well as physicians – transformed the recently vacated volunteer office into a brand new vaccine clinic within a few short days. Simultaneously, they coordinated the shipment and storage of the vaccine, investing in new state-of-the-art equipment like ultra-cold freezers.

Opening on December 24, the team began vaccinating the vulnerable long-term care (LTC) population. Since then, the clinic has gone through several renovations and process flow changes to support as many as 500 clients each day. Here, SHN is proud to offer vaccinations to its own staff and medical staff, using a prioritization matrix provided by the Ministry of Health.

With this proven blueprint in place, SHN was ready to welcome fellow Scarborough Anchor Institution Centennial College and the Centennial College Student Association on board as vaccine clinic partners, working together to increase access to COVID-19 vaccinations in Scarborough for the next several months.

“Centennial College has been an indelible part of Scarborough since 1966, and this endeavor is very much in keeping with the work we have done throughout this past year to support the community and our hospitals,” said Dr. Craig Stephenson, President and CEO, Centennial College. “Part of our pandemic response is to reach out beyond the classroom and into the community to ensure we can be as supportive as possible. We’re all in this together.”

A state-of-the-art COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic, with capacity for up to 2,000 vaccinations per day is now open at the Athletic and Wellness Centre at the Progress Campus. The fully accessible space is ideal for welcoming the large numbers of elderly and vulnerable local residents who require the COVID-19 vaccine.

Its modular design means the space can adapt within 24 hours to accommodate multiple combinations of flow to meet various client needs and demand. A large waiting area allows for indoor queues and vaccine stations ensure a seamless, efficient flow. Stations are well-stocked with a ready supply of vaccines, thanks to an innovative two-bin replenishment system that minimizes waste. Finally, the clinic also features accessible stations where recipients can receive their vaccinations and complete observation from a single point of care.

The Centennial COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic saw a successful pilot run on March 8, with vaccinations administered to eligible health care workers and individuals 80-plus years of age. Special guests Premier Doug Ford and health minister Christine Elliot were among the first to tour what some might consider to be Ontario’s flagship COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic.

Thanks to the tremendous efforts of SHN and Centennial College’s exceptional teams and many frontline heroes, Scarborough has two of the best clinics to stop COVID-19 in its tracks. Building on our support to LTC residents and staff through vaccine clinics and mobile teams, SHN was also among the first to vaccinate personal support workers from home and community care providers serving Scarborough, as well as local First Nations and Métis communities.

To date, SHN has administered approximately 51,000 vaccine doses to a very diverse population from across Scarborough, including about 14,000 doses at Centennial College alone. The light streaming in through the huge windows at the Centennial College location is outshone only by the smiling faces of patients leaving the clinic with a newfound peace of mind.

“Today, as we anticipate the roll out of more COVID-19 vaccination clinics in Scarborough, we reflect with pride on the model foundations that the Centenary Hospital and Centennial College COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics provided for this work,” said Elizabeth Buller, President and CEO, SHN. “All of the dedicated teams and resources that went into ensuring this success not only serves the community today, but ‘…will be one of the defining moments of our generation,’ as (retired) General Rick Hillier has notably remarked.”

Thank you to everyone who is doing their part to support the vaccine roll out, while also rolling up their sleeves to receive it. These vaccinations will protect lives and help Canada recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. We have so much to be proud of. #CelebrateScarborough

SHN is responsible for the operation of the Progress Campus vaccine clinic. Please do not contact Centennial College to inquire about an appointment. For updates regarding upcoming groups that will be invited to the campus vaccination site, please refer to the Scarborough COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic website.