“It’s a well-oiled machine!”
These are the kinds of things being heard and shared about the Regina COVID-19 immunization drive-thru clinic since it opened in March.
The Regina COVID-19 immunization drive-thru clinic was built on the location of the Regina drive-thru COVID-19 testing site. How to manage traffic flow, staffing and wait times, had already been worked out before the vaccination opened, along with the process of administering a medical procedure through a car window.
“We couldn’t have stood up the vaccine clinic without the ground work established with the testing site,” said Laveena Tratch, Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) Vaccine Chief for Regina. “Now, we’ve shared that same process across the province and with the rest of Canada.”
Line-up at the Regina Drive-Thru COVID-19 Vaccination clinic. Photo courtesy Regina Exhibition Association Ltd.
There’s been continued interest from jurisdictions across Canada and North America on what the SHA’s been doing and how it’s being done. Most recently, the Regina Vaccine Team presented the scalable provincial drive-thru concept at a summit of federal, provincial and territorial leaders for those involved with planning at the highest levels across the country. They shared specifically how the concept can service small sites with 150 clients per day to more than 2,500 a day.
“‘Wow’ is all I have to say about the Herculean effort that has been on display in Regina and across the province to execute the administration of vaccines via drive-thrus,” said Derek Miller, SHA’s EOC Commander. “It’s a big reason Saskatchewan leads the country in immunization rollout. SHA leaders are so proud of each and every SHA employee, and the residents of Saskatchewan, for this success.”
“It’s a big deal, to be recognized for the great work and successes our team has achieved,” added Tratch. “But I emphasize team. This isn’t one person or one area. We have everyone involved to thank.”
Vaccine is administered at a drive-thru clinic in North Battleford.
The approach taken to these drive-thrus worked because of the cross-functional teamwork established to supply and organize the sites and establish cold-chain infrastructure, as well coordinate staffing from across the system as part of surge planning.
“We do have a well-oiled machine that came together, pivoted as necessary and supported each other at every step of the way,” said Tratch.
A big part of the success of the drive-thru model across the province was the wider, community-driven support network that helped to keep things organized and running smoothly.
“Our partners from REAL (Regina Exhibition Association Ltd.), the City of Regina and others were instrumental in our success and in being able to pivot when we hit a bump in the road,” said Tratch, using the Regina site as an example. “Whether that was needing to bring in portable toilets on the first day or change traffic flow on a major artery in the city to avoid congestion, or assisting in the setting up a short-range FM station to keep everyone on the site informed.”
The Regina Drive Thru Immunization Clinic has performed a total of 46,733 vaccine doses since March 15 and there have been 77,973 doses provided via drive thrus so far in Saskatchewan as of May 5. It continues to be a big part of the provincial immunization plan and moving toward the re-opening of the province and will play a large role in the
administration of second doses in the months to come.