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Hospital vaccination clinic opens to walk-in appointments

Walk-in appointments began this week and will continue this coming week, as long as supplies keep up with demand.
Adrianne Shippam
Adrianne Shippam, the vaccination lead at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, said walk-up appointments will be available at specific times during the week of July 12, 2021. (Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com)

THUNDER BAY – The goal of accelerating second vaccination doses means walk-in appointments may be available at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre’s Bora Laskin clinic at Lakehead University.

Adrianne Shippam, the COVID-19 vaccination lead a the hospital, said they’re starting to see no shows for appointments, meaning each day for the week of July 12 they plan to encourage those seeking a first or second shot to walk up for an impromptu appointment.

“We have lots of a appointments available and we’re looking to vaccinate everyone as soon as we possibly can. Our clinic started offering walk-in spots this week, as supply allows,” Shippam said. “Every day we’ll post on (the hospital’s) social media what time we’ll be accepting walk-ins at.”

Shippam said there are a number of reasons why appointments are going unfilled – but the good news is it’s usually because someone has made other arrangements for a jab.

“We’re seeing a lot of no shows for appointments and I think that’s due to people jumping in at pharmacies and other clinics to get their second doses as early as possible, which is fantastic,” Shippam said.

“So we do have spots every day available. We try to get in as many as possible. Next week we’re actually scheduling slightly under what our capacity is so we can allow for walk-ins.”

On average the clinic can handle about 800 people per day, though Shippam said that number could grow if needed, with longer hours put in place.

“We just really want to make vaccines accessible to anyone.”

Shippam added that anyone with hesitancy about the vaccines can also consult with a pharmacist, nurse or physician on site who would be happy to answer any questions or concerns one might have.

“The COVID numbers are quite low right now, but I still think we need to be very diligent and take this opportunity to get vaccinated in the event we see the COVID variants come to our city,” she said.

Shippam said the hospital’s mass clinic may soon ramp down operations, a decision that will be made based on the number of appointments being booked.

“We are starting to plan for that. We’re keeping an eye on our appointment bookings and as they really start to slow down, we’ll talk about probably slowing down our operations and eventually shutting down. And I think that would be very soon in the next few weeks or so,” Shippam said.

“So it’s another reason to encourage you to come and get vaccinated really soon. It’s really accessible right now with the walk-ins or with appointments.”