After the Manitoba Vaccine Task Force offered 500 doses of Moderna to St.Amant, the organization worked quickly to organize Manitoba’s first drive-thru clinic. The clinic, which operated from June 21 to June 25 at 440 River Rd, was set up in just four days.
People with developmental and intellectual disabilities face many barriers at supersites including large crowds, big spaces, and overstimulation. The purpose of St.Amant’s drive-thru clinic was to provide a safe, accessible and supportive environment in which people who aren’t well-served at supersites can get vaccinated against COVID-19.
“This was a tremendous team effort,” said Anokhi Mehta, Coordinator of Pharmacy Services. “The staff and the volunteers really pulled together to make vaccination as positive of an experience as it can be for people who need additional support.”
In addition to being open to people with disabilities, the clinic was open to St.Amant staff and their family. People arrived in all modes of transportation, including cars, motorcycles, bicycles, Ubers, and even a golf cart.
The process was simple: first, the clinic’s clients would go to the Greeting station to confirm they had an appointment and to sign their consent form. Then they would be sent to the COVID Screening station which screened them for symptoms of COVID-19 and ensured they wore their personal protective equipment (PPE). Clients then drove to the registration station. Following the eligibility requirements of the government of Manitoba, the registrars ensured that they were eligible to receive their first or second vaccine. Registrars also entered clients’ data in the Shared Health system. Clients would then get vaccinated at one of the four immunization stations. The immunizers were nurses and pharmacists who work at St.Amant and who have experience supporting people with disabilities. Lastly, clients would wait at the post-observation station for 15 minutes where St.Amant staff would provide them donuts, water and watch their symptoms. Since the clinic worked on an appointment basis (only limited walk-ins were accepted), there were no lines. An appointment took approximately 30 minutes, including the 15 minutes spent at the Post-Observation station.
“This was a great experience!” said Jason Wishnowski who was vaccinated at the drive-thru. “I got donuts, water. It was friendly, easy and quick.”
Eli Koulack was also vaccinated at the drive-thru and said, “The drive-thru worked excellently. It’s super well-organized. Everything went very smoothly.”
To make it a safe and comprehensive clinic, St.Amant used the services of St. John Ambulance Manitoba. Onsite, there were therapy dogs to reduce stress and anxiety. First responders were present in the case of an allergic reaction to the vaccine.
“When I look at how successful the drive-thru clinic has been, I can say with certainty that the lack of sleep we’ve experienced to get it up and running in just four days was worth it,” says Anokhi.