Calgarians are now able to get doses of the COVID-19 vaccine while also doing some holiday shopping this year.
On Tuesday, Southcentre Mall announced it was teaming up with the City of Calgary’s mobile vaccination program.
“It’s the perfect mix. We wanted to go where people are and the most populated places just prior to the Christmas season are the malls,” Coby Duerr, acting chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency, said.
Tuesday was the first time the south Calgary mall had played host to a vaccination site.
“We started with the vaccination area this morning and the public has received it very well. So people are very happy to see this space here,” Alexandra Velosa, marketing manager at Southcentre Mall, said.
Shoppers hoping to get a first, second or third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will be asked to stay indoors at the vaccination site for 15 minutes after they get their shot, per Alberta Health Services guidelines.
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“It’s just the convenience of, you come here, you have everything and you can get your shopping done and also take care of yourself,” Velosa explained.
The drop-in vaccine clinic is located on the second floor near Hudson’s Bay and will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with an hour-long closure at noon. Southcentre Mall’s vaccination clinic will also be open on Dec. 16, 19, 21, 22, 28 and 29.
Market Mall, in the city’s northwest, will also have a city-run temporary vaccination clinic on Dec. 18, 19, 23, 30 and 31 — operating under the same hours as the Southcentre location.
Anyone attending mall vaccination sites are reminded to wear their mask while in the mall and to bring proof of I.D. and their Alberta Health cards.
Velosa, who was able to get her booster dose at the clinic in the mall she worked at, said she had spoken with other retail workers in the mall who are excited to be able to get vaccinated near where they work.
“I actually ran into someone this morning at one of our stores, and that’s exactly what she mentioned to me. She said, ‘You know, I haven’t done it, not because I don’t want to, but because I don’t have the time and this is the busiest season. I cannot leave the store unattended,’” Velosa recounted.
Velosa said that retailer planned to take a lunch break to get their vaccine.
“We saw a need to remove some barriers and through this mobile vaccination program, we’ve had the opportunity to remove some barriers for some people to be able to start their journey down the vaccination route, which is the journey out of this pandemic,” Duerr said.
He noted that children under 12 are unable to get vaccinated at any of the city’s mobile vaccination clinics, including the ones at malls, libraries, YMCA locations or other businesses.
More than 2,500 people have received vaccine doses since the outreach program launched on Sep. 22, with 759 of those being first doses.
The city operates a fleet of 5 mobile vaccination stations, housed in vans, that have been dispatched to all Calgary neighbourhoods over the past few months. A full schedule of locations is available on the city’s website.
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