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Hospital to move vaccination clinic to Lakehead University

Move will allow health-care officials to ramp up vaccination capacity from just over 150 to about 500 per day, when the vaccination supply allows.
Bora Laskin Building
The Bora Laskin Theatre at Lakehead University will host Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre's vaccination clinic, starting in mid-February 2021. (Leith Dunick,

THUNDER BAY – The head of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre says the facility is setting up a vaccination centre at the Bora Laskin Theatre building at Lakehead University.

Rhonda Crocker-Ellacott, president and CEO at the hospital, on Thursday confirmed the move, saying it will allow the vaccination capacity to ramp up to about 500 – when they have ample supply of vaccines to hit that number.

“We’re anticipating mid next week to be shifting our vaccine operation from our Health Sciences Centre over to Lakehead University. The whole idea behind that is we’re tapped out at about 168 vaccinations a day at the Health Sciences Centre, whereas we can likely do upward of 500 vaccines a day at Lakehead University,” Crocker-Ellacott said on Thursday.

The move enables hospital officials to better work and plan with the Thunder Bay District Health Unit to ensure they’re ready to take on a more widespread roll-out of the vaccines in the coming weeks and months.

How long that may be is still up in the air.

Crocker-Ellacott said the hospital received its latest supply of vaccines on Thursday, but are not sure when the next batch will arrive in Thunder Bay.

The latest vaccines will allow the hospital to complete the second dose for residents in long-term care facilities and health care workers who were anxiously awaiting completion of their vaccine program.

“We’re able to complete all of those within target,” Crocker-Ellacott said. “There’s no risk of anyone going beyond dose intervals, so that’s very positive.

“That said, we don’t have a confirmed supply of Pfizer after this one tray, so once we receive that confirmation, then we’ll be in a good position to be able to ramp up and respond to the community need and the district need.”

Crocker-Ellacott said it’s her understanding that the vaccine supply will accelerate by mid to late next week, but there’s still uncertainty how much of that supply will make its way to Thunder Bay. Until that confirmation is in hand, the hospital won’t be booking new vaccination appointments.

“But we have plans in place that we’re able to give it very quickly and ramp up very quickly to respond to needs. For example, we know there are health-care workers in long-term care who have not received the vaccination. We know that there are essential care partners in long-term care that have not been vaccinated and we know there are significant numbers of health-care workers,” Crocker-Ellacott said.

“We just barely started to (vaccinate) health-care workers that are vulnerable and in critical positions.”

Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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