After more than two years of operation, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) has ended its role as a COVID vaccine provider and turned over responsibility of the Immunization Clinic at 29 Sperling Drive to the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU).
In December 2020, RVH was one of 17 hospitals in the province to be given the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine for distribution, initially to residents of Long-term Care Homes. Together with the SMDHU and the City of Barrie, RVH worked tirelessly during the darkest days of the pandemic to bring hope to the people of Simcoe Muskoka.
Over 293,000 vaccinations were administered at the clinic by 138 doctors and 115 nurses (many of which came out of retirement to help), in addition to the 70 patient service clerks, 18 pharmacy techs, 15 security guards, 10 screeners, four EVS workers, who kept the clinic running smoothly. The Immunization Clinic staff have been relocated to positions within RVH, while many returned to retirement or have stayed on to provide essential support to the COVID, Cold and Flu Care Clinic.
“At a time when our world was upended and so many people feared what was to come, RVH staff and physicians stood strong, providing care for those who were infected and sick. We provided leadership and manpower to vaccinate the community against further spread. My deep thanks and admiration go out to all RVH employees who worked at the Immunization Clinic through tremendously difficult circumstances to keep our community safe,” says Gail Hunt, RVH President and CEO.
The Immunization Clinic will remain open five days a week, now under the supervision of the SMDHU. Appointments for the Immunization Clinic can be made on the provincial booking site.
“Vaccination has saved many thousands of lives and prevented tens of thousands of severe illnesses from COVID-19 in Simcoe Muskoka. Together as a community of healthcare and community service agencies and providers we have given more than 1.5 million COVID vaccinations, reaching over 80 per cent of our population. This has been by far the most severe pandemic of the century; however, it would have been far worse without all that we did together, especially with vaccinations,” says Dr. Charles Gardner, Medical Officer of Health, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. “This clinic is where vaccination commenced in Simcoe Muskoka, and it has always been high profile, accessible, and greatly valued by the community. Indeed, RVH has continued to provide vaccination in this way much longer than almost all other hospitals across the province. I am profoundly grateful to RVH for this and for the COVID-19 assessment centre and COVID, Cold and Flu Clinic that it also operated.”