You may have received, or will be receiving, your COVID-19 vaccination at a City of Ottawa pop-up clinic. When you sit down to get your vaccination, one of our dedicated health professionals will give you your injection. But what you don’t see are the many people behind the scenes who helped make that long-awaited injection a reality.
Pop-up clinics are temporary clinics that set up shop for a shorter and specified timeframe. They take place in priority neighbourhoods or in areas where accessing the more permanent community clinics are more difficult – including many of those who live in Ottawa’s rural communities.
To put these temporary clinics together, it requires a multi-departmental City logistics team, with each group bringing a specific talent or expertise to help plan and install the clinics quickly and ensure their operation runs smoothly. It takes approximately 25 minutes for someone to confirm their appointment and get the vaccination.
The logistics team is made up of representatives from Corporate Accommodations, Facility Operations Services, Supply Chain and Operational Support, Information Technology Services, Ottawa Public Health Vaccine Supplies and Distribution, Corporate Security, By-law and Regulatory Services, Road Safety, Community Recreation and Culture.
“All of these service areas are integral to clinic planning,” said Amanda Farias, Logistics Section Chief for the City’s Emergency Operations Centre. “It’s identifying the facility, designing the clinic flow in accordance with COVID safety protocols, IT equipment and connectivity, PPE and vaccine supplies, timely arrival of the vaccine, traffic control and security, and reception and client services to residents.”
Farias points out that each facility brings a challenge in its design, as you need dedicated areas for registration, vaccination, IT equipment and support, and then an area where people can wait for 15 minutes after their injection - all the while ensuring appropriate physical distancing can be maintained
“The facilities need to be barrier free,” added Ms. Farias. “In some facilities, this happens in one large area of the facility, in others these functions are separated in different rooms. We try to minimize the amount of time spent walking from different areas of the facility as much as possible. We also provide wheelchairs at all of our clinics.”
The one thing residents can do to help the vaccination process is not to show up too early. This causes possible crowding inside the clinic. Even though people are anxious and excited, Farias reminds everyone to show up approximately ten minutes before your appointment.
Farias remarked that the entire clinic team are passionate about their role and proud to be able to help their community. Farias commented that many residents and their family members express their thanks and share their stories on what they are looking forward to in their everyday lives.
“At our very first pop-up,” recounted Ms. Farias, “one of the first three residents to receive the vaccine explained to numerous staff on site that it was her birthday a few days following her appointment and that she wore her fancy cardinal earrings to mark the occasion.”
At the end of the day, the entire team - from IT to public health professionals and recreation employees to paramedics - came together as one team with one goal. The team sees the smiles and joy of people entering and leaving the clinic. Those smiles are a sign that their efforts not only injected a vaccine; it was an injection of hope, relief and a promise of brighter days ahead.