Health units across Canada begin adopting Grey-Bruce hockey hub vaccine clinic concept

·2 min read

A vaccine distribution model born in Grey-Bruce is now being implemented by other health units across the county.

“We have the capacity to provide the vaccine faster than many other parts of the province as we have developed a system. We call it the hockey hub, which is utilizing arenas to provide the vaccine,” said Dr. Ian Arra, medical officer of health for Grey Bruce Health Unit (GBHU).

The hockey hub vaccine clinic model was designed to allow for the most efficient vaccine delivery in terms of time, staffing requirements and cost.

Within the model, the vaccine is administered in the same spot that patients work through documentation and recovery, which reduces touch points and cleaning requirements.

The health unit's hub model has the potential to administer 4,500 vaccines in a 10-hour shift of five healthcare providers.

GBHU established its first mass vaccine clinic at the P&H Centre in Hanover in mid-February, before opening two additional mass clinics in Owen Sound and Kincardine.

Now, according to Arra, the hockey hub model is starting to be adopted in other health units across the country.

“It has been replicated in four other health units and yesterday I had a session with six other health units who wanted to replicate it. Alberta and Manitoba have started using the system,” Arra said.

The hockey hub model has been established at the Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex in Sudbury, the Point Edward Memorial Arena in Lambton County, as well as the Westerner in Red Deer, Alta, and the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg, Man.

The concept has been developed to be scalable – both in the number of doses available as well as the size of the arena.

The GBHU has been using the mass vaccination clinics throughout its vaccine rollout, but at reduced capacity.

“Through the three hubs we can provide 10,000 doses per day, which means the entire eligible population in Grey-Bruce – around 140 to 150,000 individuals – can be given the vaccine in two weeks or so,” Arra said,

In early April, the GBHU administered a record-setting 3,498 doses in one day, at a rate of 350 people per hour.

According to Arra, the only thing slowing down the administration of the vaccine in Grey-Bruce is the supply coming from the province.

“The shipments have not increased. We got the notion that late-March, early-April, we're going to see larger shipments,” he said. “We have the capacity, we have the readiness, as soon as we see these larger shipments, we will proceed.”

This week the GBHU received 4,680 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. As of April 20, the health unit has administered 48,176 total doses.

Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,