UPDATE: FSJ COVID-19 vaccine clinic working through first week issues

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. -Despite issues with the appointment system and computers going down in the afternoon, For…

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. -Despite issues with the appointment system and computers going down in the afternoon, Fort St. John’s mass COVID-19 immunization clinic opened Monday, welcoming around 160 patients.

“We were on the new system, a computer system that the province had put through, for the bookings and everything. So, that caused a little bit of a hiccup first thing in the morning just for us to learn a program that we hadn’t known,” says Northern Health Community Service Manager Sherry Sawka.

“We had a glitch in the afternoon, where are all the computers went down. So everything and anything that could happen yesterday did.”

Several residents voiced their displeasure with being double booked or receiving a later appointment date.

“I do know that there were comments just about that people were booking already into April 30th. We recognize that, and we are making changes to the schedule to accommodate more people to enter. It was just the first week we are trying to work through some of those things that happened.”

Sawka says most of the patients who walked through the clinic doors on Monday were double-booked because they were given an appointment through the previous system.

The clinic will begin increasing the number of doses being doled out in the coming weeks.

Staff anticipated the first week to be a huge learning curve, which is why Northern Health ramped up the staff on site. The clinic has six volunteers per shift available to greet and guide patients coming into the clinic.

Around 50 residents in total chose to volunteer their time to ensure those getting their vaccines are as comfortable as possible.

“It helps immensely. They’re doing the screening, greeting when people are coming in, monitoring people to make sure they’re going down the right space, helping people to the immunization stations, and then after they’re just connecting with them, making sure they’re okay. We couldn’t do this without the volunteers.”

The clinic runs out of the old Mark’s Work Wearhouse store at Totem Mall from April 12th to 16th and April 20th to 23rd. Vaccine doses are being administered to residents 65 years and older and Indigenous adults.

Appointments take about 10 minutes, and Northern Health asks residents to wait an extra 15 minutes for observation before leaving the clinic.

The following are vaccination clinics being offered through Northern Health:







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