Aggie Hall will be the location of Ladysmith’s mass vaccination clinic.
Despite an intial confusion around opening dates, Island Health has confirmed to the Chronicle that the Aggie Hall clinic will open on March 17.
Dedicated public parking for the temporary clinic will be available at both the upper and lower Aggie Hall lots, along Symonds Street and on 2nd Avenue above the natural playground.
The Aggie Hall clinic will be one of 19 community clinics from Sooke to Port Hardy. Other nearby clinics include the Cedar Community Hall, Beban Park in Nanaimo, and the Cowichan Community Gym Centre in Duncan.
Island Health is anticipating 25,000 doses of vaccine per week by the end of March.
Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone said the Aggie Hall vaccine clinic was a welcome development after over a year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s exciting. It’s good for our community and for our region. I think there’s a lot of really encouraging signs about 2021,” he said.
Aggie Hall was chosen because it can be used as a single purpose space. Other venues like the FJCC or the Ladysmith Community Health Centre are multi-purpose space, and may have conflicting uses.
The two main Aggie Hall user groups: LaFF and the Ladysmith Air Cadets have made adjustments to accommodate the vaccine clinic.
The Air Cadets have been meeting virtually on Tuesdays for the past year in accordance with guidelines from the Department of National Defense, the province, and Island Health, so the clinic won’t have too much of an impact on their operations currently.
Primarily, the Air Cadets use the lower hall at Aggie. Once they are allowed to gather, they will return to the space. The Air Cadets will be on stand down over the summer, and start up again in the fall.
“The cadet squadron, we’re 100 percent supportive of the venue at Aggie Hall — it’s a no-brainer,” 257 RCACS Sponsoring Committee secretary, Cathy Gilroy said. “It has meshed just fine with the fact that we’re still virtual. We’re still in our offices in the lower hall, but we’re doing everything that we need to do.”
LaFF will make the move to South Davis School on Friday. Families should keep an eye on LaFF’s website and social media pages for information about their change in location.
“The availability and opportunity for vaccines to get into our community makes this move very exciting,” LaFF executive Director Jacqueline Neligan said.
All of LaFF’s regular programming will continue, and families can continue to access LaFF’s kit delivery and drive-thru services.
Stone said that the Town will support both groups in continuing their operations for the duration of the Aggie Hall clinic.
Vaccination appointments must be made through the Island Health call centre at: 1-833-348-4787. Individuals 85 and over can start calling March 15 to make appointments for the week starting March 22. Island Health hopes to have all elderly seniors aged 80-plus immunized by April 12.
Already, more that 60,000 doses of vaccine have been administered to seniors in long-term care and assisted living, health-care workers and members of First Nations communities.
With files from Greg Sakaki.