C-K COVID-19 vaccination clinic opens doors Tuesday

Local artist, Sarah Steele, painted the staff area with thank you messages written in seven different languages. Pictured are the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, CK Public Health, and EMS team members.

By Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative

Chatham-Kent received its first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine on Monday, prompting CK Public Health to begin its first round of doses for its next phase of residents.

On Tuesday, the vaccination clinic housed in the John D. Bradley Convention Centre, Chatham, will officially open its door to staff and essential caregivers from long-term care homes as well as staff in First Nations Elder Care homes.

“We intend to run seven days a week for as long as we can, as long as we have enough vaccine product to be able to do that,” said site leader Willi Kirenko.

The group will be vaccinated first by appointment only. More than 300 appointments are booked for Tuesday and 400 more inoculations are planned for Wednesday.


Chatham-Kent’s vaccination clinic is now open at the J.D. Bradley Convention Centre and will take residents by appointment only.

The 25,000 sq ft clinic will receive 10 people every 15 minutes and administer 60 shots per hour. That is 420 patients per day.

“So the intention is to move people through efficiently and quickly while we keep them safe,” said Kirenko.

Once someone has come through the main door where they were screened, they will be directed by a greeter to one of the registration stations. Those with mobility issues will be identified and provided assistance. Ten people are expected to be seen every 15 minutes.

Long-term care home residents continue to be vaccinated in the homes with the Moderna vaccines. A shipment arrived this week, which marked the beginning of the second round of doses for the residences.

Willi Kirenko, site leader of Chatham-Kent’s vaccination clinic, shows one of 10 vaccination bays.

Employers are developing schedules for their long-term care staff inoculations.

CK Public Health and the Health Alliance are still working out details on how to coordinate and book appointments for residents over the age of 80, who are the next in line to be inoculated following the healthcare workers. That phase is expected to begin sometime in March.

“There may be pop-up clinics. In other smaller community settings there may be additional mobile clinics. We’re not exactly sure how to do it all yet. But this is a good first step,” Kirenko said.

The whole process is expected to take no more than 30 minutes, including a 15 minute observation period. Those who had allergic reactions to medications in the past will be asked to wait a little longer under observation.

Three experienced nurses and/or paramedics will be engaging with residents in the monitoring area and providing extra self-care education post-vaccination.

“If someone were to have an allergic reaction, we’ll have paramedics on site throughout the clinics,” Kirenko said. “The chances of an allergic reaction are very very low –  3.7 per million vaccines. So it’s very, very low. If it were to happen, we are prepared to take care of the individual.”

Green cots for emergency care are set up throughout the clinic and a loading dock in the back is cleared in case an ambulance is needed.
Once residents have been released from the monitoring station, they will receive proof of vaccination at the check-out station.
Quotes translated in English, French and Ojibwe line the entrance and exit of the vaccination clinic. “It’s very important that we represent our community well,” said site leader Willi Kirenko.



  1. “It’s very important that we represent our community well,” said site leader Willi Kirenko.
    Obvious lack of organization from above – no call center, no website, no pop-up clinics, but political posters aplenty !!! (remembering “Action Plan” signs everywhere)


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