Chatham-Kent’s new mass COVID vaccination clinic at the Bradley Convention Centre will be up and running today.

The municipality received its third shipment of vaccine yesterday and has started the process of giving residents in long term care and high-risk retirement homes their second dose.

With another shipment arriving today, Clinic Site Lead Willie Kirenko says the vaccination teams have a heavy few days ahead.

“Phase 1A includes residents of long term care homes and high-risk retirement homes, among a few others. Mobile teams of EMS and public health have been going out to get those people vaccinated where they live,” Kirenko says. “At the same time though, long term care home staff and essential caregivers are also in Phase 1A, they’re the highest priority. We feel it’s best to get them vaccinated here at this site.”

The clinic is expected to dole out 300 shots today and another 400 tomorrow, all by appointment only.

The clinic offers 10 vaccination tables with two seats at each, allowing the team to administer 60 shots an hour.

“We’re intending to do up to 600 shots per day, that is in an 8 hour period. We also intend to grow the hours of service, initially form 8 hours to 10 hours, and eventually to 12 hours, seven days a week. At that time we’ll have gained some efficiency from our experience, we intend to do over 1000 vaccinations per day.”

Phase 1B of the municipality’s vaccination plan includes adults 80 and over, other staff, residents and caregivers in retirement homes and senior congregate living settings; high priority health care workers, adults with chronic care, and Indigenous adults.

Over time, the plan is to add pop-up clinics in outlying communities as well as the potential for a second mass vaccination site at the WISH Centre.

Shots for the general population are expected to begin in April. For more details on the vaccine phases and priorities, visit the Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit website.

The 25,000 square foot clinic also features welcoming messages in English, French, and Ojibway; a mural in the staff break area created by local artist Sarah Steele that says ‘thank you’ in 10 different languages; and colourful duct tape art by artist Mark Reinhart.