FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Northern Health nurses, in Fort St. John, have come up with a creative way to deal with the backlog of immunizations that were rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Facing the challenge of catching up with immunizations for 500 grade six students, as well as some grade nine students, the primary health care teams in Fort St. John found a way to make it happen with some creativity and hard work.

According to Northern Health, each morning, a nurse was tasked to pick a school and call the parents to book their kids into same-day, afternoon appointments or into a Tuesday clinic in June. The phone calls gave nurses an opportunity to address parents’ concerns and reassure them about COVID-19 safety precautions.

To ensure that physical distancing requirements were met, the team adapted the health unit’s large multi-purpose room, turning it into a waiting room. Following the 15-minute post-vaccine waiting period, clients were directed to leave the building using an external door in the same room to minimize traffic at the health unit’s main entrance.

Northern Health says some benefits of this process were that the students were able to see their classmates from a distance while in the waiting room and the nurses were able to offer any missed immunizations, something they are not able to do at school clinics.