A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the 'hockey hub' mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Along with announcing its role as a supporting partner of Peel Hockey Hub, the Convenience Industry Council of Canada (CICC) is calling for a fast-tracked strategy to fully vaccinate all Canadians, starting with frontline workers across the country.
“Our industry is on the frontline and we want to ensure that we play a critical role in reaching the goal line in the battle to defeat COVID-19,” Anne Kothawala, president & CEO of CICC, said in a statement. “But there’s more work to be done – complacency is not an option. We need a powerplay to get Canadians fully vaccinated as quickly as possible, starting with all frontline workers including the convenience industry.”
The new Peel Hockey Hub is an example of the Made-in-Canada model that combines large spaces and innovation to vaccine people faster and more efficiently. Its capacity can be scaled up to administer 10,000 shots per day.
The Region of Peel and Bruce Power marked the opening of the Hockey Hub mass vaccination centre in the Peel region Friday. The event was livestreamed from the CAA Centre in Brampton.
The "hockey hub model," designed with big spaces such as arenas in mind, turns the usual delivery of care upside down so vaccinators can administer more doses, Bethany Lee, a communications manager for Peel Region, a part of the Greater Toronto Area hit the hardest by COVID-19, told CBC's White Coat, Black Art host Dr. Brian Goldman
"By minimizing the movement of the resident who's receiving the vaccination, it helps us get more needles in arms. It's better for the staff and it's actually a really good, calm experience for the resident who is getting vaccinated."
Innovation of this type, especially in one of Canada’s COVID-19 hotspots, is essential to reach the goal of full vaccination, however CICC stresses that more action is needed get back to normal as quickly as possible.
“Since the onset of the pandemic, our industry has taken the initiative and demonstrated that we can not only be convenient in good times but essential in tough times,” adds Kothawala. “We are ready, willing and able to help Canada get over the goal line so we can return to normal as fast as possible.”
According to a recent national survey, Canadians believe that the convenience industry and convenience stores should take on a more prominent role during COVID-19 recovery plans throughout Canadian communities.
Conducted by Maru Public Opinion, the study found nine-in-ten (88%) Canadians and Ontarians voicing strong support for convenience industry distributors to assist with getting vaccines to more remote communities. The survey also found a majority of Canadians (83%) are in favour of the industry’s workers receiving vaccinations on a priority basis—with the highest level of support in Ontario (89 per cent).
“Canadians understand the importance of getting frontline workers in pandemic hotspots vaccinated as soon as possible,” says Kothawala. “Many of the convenience industry’s employees live and work in the GTA so we can’t let up now. With the rise of new variants, we need a renewed sense of urgency to ensure COVID-19 is benched as soon as possible.”
“The survey results underscore the vital and mutually supportive relationship between the owner-operators and their communities,” says John Wright, EVP of Maru Public Opinion.