Nfld. & Labrador

Walk-in COVID-19 vaccine clinic pops up at St. John's pedestrian mall

Eastern Health ran a walk-in vaccine clinic Saturday on Water Street in downtown St. John's in hopes of vaccinating as many people as possible — particularly young people.

Eastern Health hopes satellite clinics will help reach more people

Dawn Gallant, Eastern Health's nurse manager for vaccination clinics, says increasing vaccine uptake in the 20-40 demographic is key. (Emma Grunwald/CBC)

People strolling through the pedestrian mall in St. John's on Saturday had the chance to check out the area's newest addition: a pop-up COVID-19 vaccine clinic.

Eastern Health staff were in the main lobby of the Scotia Centre on Water Street on Saturday afternoon, providing first and second shots for anyone 12 and up.

"Immunization is the most effective way to help fight COVID-19," said Dawn Gallant, nurse manager of vaccination clinics for Eastern Health.

"We hope that we will improve our rates here today as people come down and enjoy the fresh air."

'As comfortable and as positive as possible'

Gallant said while the province is a national leader when it comes to vaccination rates — with more than 85 per cent of the eligible population having had at least one shot and about two-thirds fully vaccinated — the younger generation is lagging behind.

Jackie and Robert Stanley were happy to learn a walk-in clinic would be open downtown during the day they planned on visiting the pedestrian mall. (Emma Grunwald/CBC)

"We are looking to reach as many people as we possibly can to immunize, and the young adult, 20 to 40 age group are a group that we'd like to see our rates improve a little," she said. 

Tackling vaccine hesitancy in that age group, Gallant said, can be as simple as sitting down and having a chat.

"If they have any concerns, there are very experienced nurses and they can address their concerns," she said.

"The nurses try to make the experience as comfortable and as positive as possible for people." 

A 'super-easy' solution

Robert and Jackie Stanley of Whitbourne say the pop-up clinic was a welcome addition to their weekend trip to St. John's. The couple got their first doses in April.

Dave Reynolds, an English teacher and author, says getting his second shot at the pop-up walk-in clinic downtown was 'super easy.' (Emma Grunwald/CBC)

"So this was a good time for us," Jackie said. "We came in from Whitbourne to have a look around and get our needle, and glad we did."

"The walk-in clinic was perfect for me today," said Robert. "We're both retired, so we decided to travel somewhere. We have our second shot, we'll have our paper in three weeks, and then we're ready to go where we want to."

"You need the second dose to do anything," said David Reynolds after getting his jab.

"I'm happy to be on the Pfizer-Pfizer double dose plan, which will let me internationally travel, I think, when that comes up."

Reynolds heard from a neighbour Eastern Health was offering shots downtown. 

"The walk-in clinic is just super-easy," he said. "My office isn't far from here. I walk to work. I got this on the way."

Dawn Gallant said Eastern Health offers core clinics seven days a week across St. John's. Satellite clinics are also offered in different regions of the Avalon.

The province's other three health authorities — Central Health, Western Health and Labrador-Grenfell Health — are also offering walk-in clinics for both first and second shots in those regions.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kyle Mooney is a journalist and musician living in St. John's.

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