The Durham mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinic has been travelling all over the region the past several months, making sure shots are accessible to those looking for one.
“There’s lots of down times on the road but this is very uplifting,” said Pam Jacobs, Durham Region Paramedic.
Jacobs usually sees people on their worst day, but the paramedic of 16 years says her experience has done a complete 180 since she joined the region’s mobile vaccination clinic.
“People actually clap when they’re ready to sit down and have their vaccine and know they’re going to be more protected,” said Jacobs.
Jacobs has been a part of the mobile team since day one. She does it all, and on Monday she was drawing the vaccine.
“We also have roles as vaccinators, we also have roles as administrators checking people in, checking them out and in recovery section we have to watch for any reactions,” said Jacobs.
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The mobile clinic operates seven days a week and travels all around the region, hitting hot spots, marginalized communities and vulnerable populations.
There are about 20 paramedics that rotate and many more that provide support behind the scenes.
“This work is critical. The people we’re trying to catch are the people who can’t make it to an MIC (Mass Immunization Clinic) or won’t make it to an MIC,” said Jeff Jordison, superintendent of emergency management and community programs with the Region of Durham Paramedic Services.
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“We put out a voluntary call out to our staff to say who wants to do this, we’re going to build this team, we don’t know long the work will apply for and we had some very veteran paramedics sign on,” said John Riches, Deputy Chief, Region of Durham Paramedic Services.
On Monday the clinic was at city hall in Oshawa, vaccinating the homeless and displaced.
“When a mobile clinic comes and they know all they have to do is show up, get their needle that’s really important because that entices more people to come out and get those valuable shots,” said Oshawa regional councillor Bob Chapman.
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“We came into this line of work to help people and this is our way of giving back right now,” said Tina Brown, a Durham Region paramedic. Brown has been a paramedic for almost three decades.
Last week the team hit the 10,000 vaccination milestone and are now over 11,000.
“That’s a lot of people we’ve been able to administer since we started at the beginning of March. It just shows how willing people are to help get us back to normal,” said Brown.
There’s no telling how much longer the mobile vaccination clinic will be operating, but one thing is for sure: the entire team will continue to make a difference until they’re no longer needed.
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