Hockey Hub could be the Canadian answer to mass vaccinations

·2 min read

Dr. Ian Arra, Grey Bruce medical officer of health, has offered a homegrown solution to getting shots in the arms of the general population quickly and safely.

Implementation will await sufficient supply of vaccine – but there’s no scarcity of the crucial factor in the plan.

“Ubiquitous throughout Ontario and Canada, the plan is based on standard size hockey rink,” the health unit said in its media release.

In Grey-Bruce, work has begun to prepare three sites which were made ready as field hospitals, but not used: the P&H Centre in Hanover, the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre in Owen Sound and the Davidson Centre in Kincardine.

The plan is scalable according to the amount of vaccine and the number of people to be vaccinated.

Because of the huge undivided space, the set-up allows quick individual, spaced registration, with minimal need of clinical staff. In fact, most tasks can be completed by non-clinical staff.

Vaccination and recovery would be in the same spot, which reduces the risks of a faint or fall if a person must walk to another area for recovery.

A standard rink can house 150 of the “pods” for individuals, with five vaccinators assigned to 30 pods each. People will flow through in one direction.

Once screened and registered, individuals will stay in their pod for documentation, administering vaccine and recovery. The one giving the vaccine moves from pod to pod.

Because of the open space, cleaning requirements are dramatically reduced because of fewer touch surfaces.

“Hockey Hub, Canadian Innovation” was the slogan of the plan, which has been presented to General Rick Hillier.

The Hockey Hub model is projected to vaccinate 4,500 per day, contrasted with a large scale clinic model 1,000 per day or standard clinic 400 per day.

With all three Hockey Hubs operating at full-capacity in Grey and Bruce, given sufficient supply of vaccine, it would take about 21 days to vaccinate 140,000 people – 75 percent of Grey Bruce's population.

“Conventional vaccine clinics would take considerably longer, months rather than days,” the Health Unit said.

Dr. Arra has been advocating for Grey-Bruce to be used as a pilot to test delivery of vaccinations to large populations outside urban centres.

M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald