SUDBURY -- As Phase 1 of Ontario's vaccine program rolls out across northeastern Ontario, Public Health Sudbury & Districts has been busy preparing a mass vaccination site.

Carmichael Arena in Minnow Lake is the first vaccination clinic in the city. It’s scheduled to open Thursday morning, but vaccinations are by appointment only.

“Who we’re seeing are staff members, and essential caregivers from long-term care homes in the city,” said Karly McGibbon, a public health nurse with Public Health. “So, Thursday and Friday (are) both 11-hour days, and we’re hoping to do about 2,500 people throughout those two days.”

Health officials said there will be 11 appointments every five minutes.

“People will be brought into the arena section and they’ll see a check-in clerk and what will happen is their information will be registered in the database, there will be screening questions," said McGibbon.

'Sit down and receive their vaccine'

"Once they do that, they will move again to wait for their nurse so they’ll be told which station to go too and when the nurse is available they will go to that station, sit down and receive their vaccine.”

She said the clinic would not be possible without the help from community partners, including the City of Greater Sudbury and Health Sciences North, who will also help with vaccinations.

“We have public health nurses, we have nurses from HSN that are coming to help us, nurses from the community, as well as our community paramedics," said McGibbon. "So, when you come here you may be immunized by a registered nurse or a paramedic. This is not just a flu clinic like what were used to doing. This is a huge undertaking.”

Not only did the city supply the vaccination site, it’s also providing multiple resources throughout the clinic.

“We have staff that are taking and booking appointments from the public through our call centre," said Melissa Roney, operation section chief with the vaccination implementation committee with Greater Sudbury.

"We have COVA data entry folks, we also have security, we have traffic monitors. In a mass clinic, we staff up to almost 60 people per clinic."

City staff said there are three more arenas across Greater Sudbury that will open, if needed.

The additional locations are the Centennial Arena, Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex and Dr. Edgar Leclair Arena.