COVID-19 vaccination sites opening in Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie

WATCH (March 29): Dr. Deena Hinshaw announces some age groups of those eligible in Phase 2B of Alberta’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout can start booking appointments on Tuesday.

Two new vaccination sites are opening in northern Alberta on April 5: one in Fort McMurray and one in Grande Prairie.

In Fort McMurray, the location is the Suncor Community Leisure Centre curling rink at MacDonald Island Park.

The MacDonald Island site will operate between eight and 12 hours a day, seven days a week, for those eligible and with pre-booked vaccination appointments, the province said. Hours of operation will be based on vaccine supply. The main entrance can be used to access the vaccination clinic.

Once operational, the MacDonald Island site will host approximately 10 vaccination stations with capacity to expand to 20 stations depending on vaccine availability. At 20 vaccination stations working to full capacity for eight hours, 1,285 Albertans could be vaccinated by appointment each day at this site.

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The site in Grande Prairie is at the Teresa Sargent Hall in the Montrose Cultural Centre (9839 103 Ave.).

Those with appointments at the Teresa Sargent Hall should access the facility from the south side of the Montrose Cultural Centre. For individuals with mobility concerns, two accessible drop-off points will be available at the north entrance of the building and the west side of the Mamawe concourse across from the RCMP station.

Hours of operation will be based on vaccine supply, the province said.

Once operational, the Montrose Cultural Centre Teresa Sargent Hall site will host approximately 60 vaccination stations. Working at full capacity for eight hours, 900 Albertans could be vaccinated by appointment each day at this site. Depending on vaccine availability, hours of operation could be expanded to allow up to 1,380 Albertans to be vaccinated by appointment each day.

“These new sites will help us achieve our goal of offering every adult Albertan the vaccine by June 30,” Health Minister Tyler Shandro said.

“I want to thank everyone involved for working together to protect public health. Vaccines are the path out of the pandemic: they protect all of us, save lives, and reduce the burden on hospitals and other health services.

“When your turn comes, please book an appointment as soon as you can.”

Neither site accepts drop-ins.

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“I’m thrilled to see increased access to vaccinations within our region,” said Laila Goodridge, MLA for Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche.

“By using a larger facility with better parking, more people will be able to access their shots faster and safer.”

All COVID-19 vaccination appointments booked through Alberta Health Services in Fort McMurray will be at the MacDonald Island Park curling rink as of April 5.

COVID-19 immunizations will not be offered at the Fort McMurray Wolverine Community Health Services’ Thickwood Medical Centre after April 4. Those who had previously booked appointments there will receive notification by SMS text, directing them to attend the MacDonald Island Park site for their appointment.

Starting April 4, the vaccine will no longer be offered at the Grande Prairie Public Health Unit. Those who have previously booked appointments at the health unit will receive SMS text notification directing them to attend the Montrose Cultural Centre site for their appointment.

Protocols will be implemented at both vaccine centres to ensure proper physical distancing, cleaning and sanitization.

AHS staff will screen everyone for COVID-19 symptoms prior to entering the vaccination area. The security, health and safety of all people entering the facility is of the highest importance. If you are unwell and have any COVID-19 symptoms, please rebook your appointment.

To book your COVID-19 vaccine appointment when eligible, use the AHS online booking tool, call 811 or contact a participating pharmacy.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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