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

A class is in isolation after a potential exposure at J.V. Humphries School in Kaslo. Photo: School District 8
Kaslo school’s class isolated due to possible COVID-19 exposure

A class at J.V. Humphries School is home for the week

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

Tala MacDonald, a 17-year-old student at Mount Sentinel Secondary who is also a volunteer firefighter, has won the $100,000 Loran Scholarship. Photo: Submitted
West Kootenay student wins $100K scholarship

Tala MacDonald is one of 30 Canadians to receive the Loran Scholarship

Kristian Camero and Jessica Wood, seen here, co-own The Black Cauldron with Stephen Barton. The new Nelson restaurant opened earlier this month while indoor dining is restricted by the province. Photo: Tyler Harper
A restaurant opens in Nelson, and no one is allowed inside

The Black Cauldron opened while indoor dining is restricted in B.C.

First-year Selkirk College student Terra-Mae Box is one of many talented writers who will read their work at the Black Bear Review’s annual (virtual) launch on April 22. Photo: Submitted
Jake the service dog is trained to give calming hugs to his caretaker and handler, Rae-Lynee Dicks, who lives with post-traumatic stress disorder. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Jake and Rae-Lynne: The story of a Grand Forks woman and her service dog

Jake is on his way to completing his training, but it’s been difficult to socialize him in the pandemic

Carver Ken Sheen had almost finished work on a large cowboy carving commissioned by the City of Williams Lake to replace the original overlooking the Stampede Grounds when fire broke out Friday, April 18 at his property between Williams Lake and Quesnel. (Pine River Carving Facebook photos)
Cow boss statue destined for Williams Lake Stampede Grounds goes up in flames

Carver Ken Sheen lost the statue, all his tools and his shop in the blaze

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains. (Hansard TV)
B.C. moves to protect employee pay for COVID-19 vaccination

Most won’t need to take time off work, labour minister says

New figures show Canadian housing prices outpacing those in other developed countries. (Black Press Media file photo)
Canadian housing prices fastest rising in the world

Relative to 2000, housing prices have risen by a factor of more than 2.5

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
80-million-year-old turtle find on B.C. river exciting fossil hunters

Remains of two-foot creature of undetermined species will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Joudelie King wants to get out and live life to the fullest, but there are places she can’t go because they don’t meet her accessibility needs. (submitted photo)
New online tool provides accessibility map for people with disabilities

The myCommunity BC map provides accessibility info for nearly 1,000 locations in the province

British Columbia’s provincial flag flies in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Wildfire fanned by winds near Merritt prompts evacuation alert

BC Wildfire Service says the suspected human-caused blaze was fanned by winds

Most Read