FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The drive-thru vaccine clinic in Fort St. John opened Thursday, offering residents another convenient way to get vaccinated.

Northern Health nurses and staff are also taking over the North Peace Arena parking lot on June 11-12 and June 14-15. The drive-thru clinic will run from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.

To help make the process run smoothly, Northern Health drive-thru clinic site co-lead, Viva Swanson, says there are signs and QR symbols for residents to speed up registration while in line.

“Though the process is very similar to what we’re doing at the mass immunization clinic, the drive-thru is a different model to try and encourage individuals who have had a difficult time based on shift work, being out in camp, or working a long day to be able to accommodate their needs in a different format.”

Swanson says all information is secured on a dedicated network for the drive-thru clinic.

“An MIT team came in this morning and took a few hours to set everything up with us so that we could have a secure network. We’ve created a wireless access point and a hub so that we can have all our computers working off that particular system safely.”

Northern Health site co-lead Taylar Endean says for the first day, it has been quiet, but she’s confident it will offer another convenient way to get vaccinated.

“We definitely have lots of room for people to come down, so I would encourage everyone to come and get their first dose,” says Endean. “We are only doing first doses here, but if they have or haven’t registered, or don’t have an appointment yet, they can definitely come on down.”

For people coming to the North Peace Arena, Swanson says there is plenty of signage and volunteers helping vehicles.

“There’s a single entrance to the queue coming off 96th Street, so come in at the entrance to the curling rink. There is no entrance to the site from the 96th Avenue side. We want everybody to be safe because we have pedestrians and cyclists as well as drivers, so that’s why we have traffic control and security on-site.”

For Swanson and Endean, both have remarked at the positivity they have felt from residents at the mass vaccine clinic.

“I have loved the last nine weeks working as an immunizer at the clinic because it’s the most social contact I’ve had. It has been an absolute joy to reconnect with the community. People coming through the door for vaccines are happy to be there, and we’re happy to serve,” says Swanson.

While both have been working very hard throughout the pandemic, they are each looking forward to something completely different when restrictions are finally loosened.

For Swanson, she’s excited to travel again.

“I can’t wait to go to Mexico.”

Endean hopes this is the summer she can have her wedding, small as it may be.

“We’re still keeping it small because I cant re-re-re-plan a wedding in just four weeks. We’ll have the big party when it’s 100 per cent safe.”

The following mass vaccination clinics are being offered through Northern Health for everyone aged 12 and older: