Rosa Friedich receives one of the COVID-19 vaccines from nurse Shannon Perger on Wednesday at Mary Hall in Nelson. Photo: Tyler Harper

Rosa Friedich receives one of the COVID-19 vaccines from nurse Shannon Perger on Wednesday at Mary Hall in Nelson. Photo: Tyler Harper

At Nelson’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic, doses of hope

Approximately 150 people per day are receiving the vaccine in the city

In a quiet Nelson gymnasium, Linda Taylor sat alone and took in her surroundings.

The 83 year old had just received her first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, and felt reflective. Only a year ago, as B.C. entered its lockdown, Taylor wasn’t sure when the pandemic would end. A vaccine in a year seemed unlikely.

Yet here she was Wednesday, with a Band-Aid on her left arm and plans for a second dose in four months.

“It’s so hard to believe it’s happened in one year,” said Taylor. “When you’ve lived as long as I have you think back to some of the other things that have happened in the world and it’s amazing that they are doing this in one year.”

Approximately 150 people per day have received vaccines at Selkirk College’s Mary Hall gymnasium in Nelson since it opened this month, according to prevention service assistant Benje Moricz.

The Ministry of Health announced Wednesday that 582,634 doses of vaccines had been administered in B.C. while also opening appointment bookings to people as young as 76, and to Indigenous peoples over the age of 55.

Moricz said the clinic, which runs daily 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., previously administered the Moderna vaccine before Interior Health started sending the Pfizer doses instead.

No one appeared to be picky about which they were getting Wednesday.

Gloria Currie, 86, said she was relieved to receive the vaccine but downplayed its immediate impact until she had both doses.

She still allowed herself to look ahead to the days when she can revive her social life. Concerts, movies and garden shows were the things she longed to visit once more. “All that stuff, that’s what I miss,” said Currie.

Vicki Hanneson was among the few people at the clinic receiving the vaccine who wasn’t a senior. Hanneson is a dental assistant, which makes her an essential service worker. Although she was happy to be vaccinated, COVID-19 precautions in her workplace meant she never felt unsafe.

“I think the first couple days I went back to work, which was the beginning of June, I started to feel a lot more comfortable with the way things are being handled, especially in our area.”

Vicki Hanneson, a local dental assistant, was among the younger people at the clinic receiving the vaccine. Photo: Tyler Harper

Vicki Hanneson, a local dental assistant, was among the younger people at the clinic receiving the vaccine. Photo: Tyler Harper

On the other side of the needle was nurse Shannon Perger. It was her 25th birthday, and she could have taken the day off. Instead, Perger volunteered to take a shift in the gym.

Some visitors have received the vaccine as if it were a mundane chore to complete. But for others, Perger said, the visit to the clinic has been an emotional experience.

“We’ve had many people in tears as they receive their vaccine,” said Perger. “For some it’s their first time getting out of their house so it’s like a celebratory day. Some people sit in the chair and they really open up to you. They let you know they’ve had family members who passed away because of COVID. It’s a special moment to be a part of that.”

There will be more special moments to come.

Rose Friedich was among the people vaccinated in Nelson on Wednesday. She spent 2020 isolated from her children and unable to fill her days with the volunteer work she cherishes.

But after being vaccinated, she glanced out the gymnasium window where flurries were ruining an early spring morning and still managed to feel some hope for days ahead.

“When the sun is shining,” she said, “one feels better.”

To register for an appointment at the clinic, call Interior Health at 1-877-740-7747 any time between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Selkirk’s Mary Hall building parking lot can be accessed by turning off Elwyn Street onto Fell Street in Fairview. Visitors are asked to arrive on time for their appointment.

READ MORE:

Rural West Kootenay residents as young as 18 to receive COVID-19 vaccine in April

Worrisome COVID-19 trends reported amid new vaccine supply concerns

Hard-hit hospitality companies help with B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccinations

@tyler_harper | tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Linda Taylor smiles as a nurse covers her arm with a Band-Aid. “It feels like a first step to getting better and helping to keep everybody else better,” she said. Photo: Tyler Harper

Linda Taylor smiles as a nurse covers her arm with a Band-Aid. “It feels like a first step to getting better and helping to keep everybody else better,” she said. Photo: Tyler Harper

Just Posted

The Trail Smoke Eaters fell 6-1 to the Penticton Vees on Sunday, their third loss to the perennial BCHL powerhouse six games into the 20-game season. Photo: Stephen Piccolo
Penticton Vees dominant in win over Trail Smoke Eaters

Trail Smoke Eaters enjoy two day break until their fourth meeting with Penticton Vees on Wednesday

Kalesnikoff Lumber will be providing materials for a 21-storey apartment building in Vancouver. Rendering: Henriquez Partners Architects
Kalesnikoff supplying mass timber for several major projects

The West Kootenay lumber company will be making the products at South Slocan facility

This painting is a piece from Young Visions 2021, opening April 22 at the Kootenay Gallery. Photo: S. Painter
Showcase of artwork by Kootenay Columbia students opens April 22

Young Visions 2021 runs April 22 to May 29 in the Kootenay Gallery of Art, Castlegar

Selkirk College has received provincial funding to assist students. File photo
Selkirk College receives funding to assist students

Provincial funding is available to West Kootenay students

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Part of the massive mess left behind in a Spallumcheen rental home owned by Wes Burden, whose tenants bolted from the property in the middle of the night. Burden is now facing a hefty cleaning and repair bill as a result. (Photo submitted)
Tenants disappear in the night leaving Okanagan home trashed with junk, feces

Spallumcheen rental rooms filled with junk, human and animal feces; landlord scared to rent again

Parliament Hill is viewed below a Canada flag in Gatineau, Quebec, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians are feeling more grateful for what they have in 2020 as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly in 2019: report

2019 report shows Canada emitted about one million tonnes more of these gases than the previous year

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to register people ages 40+ for COVID-19 vaccines in April

Appointments are currently being booked for people ages 66 and up

Most Read