ARNPRIOR – Arnprior’s volunteer spirit is on full display taking a key role in the community’s vaccination rollout.
When local community members received the call to volunteer at the Arnprior and area COVID-19 vaccination clinics, it was the chance to take action against the global pandemic.
“It’s been absolutely amazing to volunteer at the vaccination clinics,” Arnprior Regional Health (ARH) Auxiliary member Maggie Harbert said. “COVID has had us trapped and we’ve felt helpless in this situation. But now we have the chance to fight back against the virus.”
The ARH Auxiliary, led by President Bernice O’Connor, did not hesitate to volunteer their support for the local walk-thru and drive-thru vaccination clinics. Harbert offered to help organize the volunteer efforts including determining what volunteer support was needed for each clinic; the type of volunteer roles required; and, in the beginning, she also led the scheduling for the auxiliary members who were available to volunteer.
“It is so rewarding to see the seniors getting their shots – you feel everyone’s relief that we can finally do something against this virus,” Harbert said. “I look around at the clinic operations and it really underlines that it takes a village.”
Twenty-five auxiliary members have volunteered at the clinic and many who volunteer at the Opportunity Shop have expressed interest but have not been able to fit it in with their volunteer schedules.
In total, the local vaccination clinics are supported by approximately 60 local volunteers with about 15 to 20 volunteers at each clinic. In addition to auxiliary members, this includes volunteers from ARH’s Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC), the Arnprior and District Family Health Team (ADFHT), and Nu-Tech Precision Metals. The volunteers take on different roles at the walk-thru and drive-thru clinics including sanitizing surfaces, screening patients, wayfinding support and other administrative tasks.
“When we put out the call for volunteer support, there was no hesitation from our volunteer groups who already give a great deal back to the community through the Auxiliary, PFAC and other local volunteer initiatives,” vice president, Patient Care and Chief Nursing Executive ARH and co-lead of the local vaccination rollout Susan Leach said.
Mike Poirier, chief financial officer, Nu-Tech Precision Metals, did not hesitate to say yes when he received a call to help from Karen Simpson, executive director, ADFHT and co-lead of the local vaccination rollout.
“There are so many community members on the sidelines who are not medical professionals, but want to help,” Poirier said. “Anybody would jump at the opportunity to volunteer – we were fortunate to be given the chance.
To date, Poirier and 10 Nu-Tech employees have joined the volunteer schedule at the various local vaccination clinics, and it has been a meaningful experience for everyone.
“Watching the vaccination process has been incredible,” Poirier said. “The number of people and organizations who are engaged in helping is impressive and everyone knows their role and is happy to participate. Our employees have shared that volunteering at the clinics has been very rewarding.”
The Arnprior and area vaccination clinics are organized by the ADFHT, ARH, The County of Renfrew Paramedic Service, and The Town of Arnprior with the support of the Renfrew County and District Health Unit.
“The commitment of the volunteers has been integral to our delivery of a well-organized, safe and comfortable vaccination experience for community members,” Simpson said. “We greatly appreciate the contributions and commitment of each of our volunteers.”
To learn about the current eligible groups for vaccination or to book your appointment, visit www.rcdhu.com.