Alexandra Gillespie standing, speaking, in front of a sign that reads Trillium Health Partners

‘Incredible difference in our community’: Mass vaccination clinic at UTM closes

Tuesday, July 27, 2021 - 6:03pm

The final dose at one of the region’s first mass vaccination clinic has been administered, marking another milestone in the concerted effort to end the COVID-19 pandemic.

As vaccination rates continue to rise across Peel and community-based vaccine clinic options become more easily accessible, Trillium Health Partners (THP) and U of T Mississauga have closed their clinic at the Recreation, Athletics, & Wellness Centre (RAWC), effective July 27, 2021.

Pride, emotion and funny comments took centre stage as the clinic prepared to close.

At the morning huddle with clinic staff, senior leadership from THP and UTM expressed their gratitude to all the individuals who had volunteered to serve at the clinic.

“At the peak of the pandemic, we put out a call for help, and hundreds of you responded,” said Simone Harrington, THP’s vaccine program lead. “I’m grateful to each and every one of you for answering this call.”

“For months, we’ve fought this together,” added Dr. Maithy Tran, site clinic lead. “It’s now time for us to step back. We’ve all done a great job and can be proud of what we’ve accomplished for the community.”

Two women standing over a table writing on a sign that has large letters in the middle reading Thank You
Photo by Nick Iwanyshyn

Since its opening on March 1, 2021, staff have administered over 335,000 doses at the THP COVID-19 vaccine clinic at UTM.

“On behalf of UTM, I want to express my tremendous gratitude to our partners at Trillium Health Partners, and thank the vaccine clinic staff and volunteers, including our outstanding UTM staff, for making such an incredible difference in our community,” said Alexandra Gillespie, UTM’s vice-president and principal. “The vaccine clinic represents an outstanding collaboration with THP and the Region of Peel.”

Complementing THP’s Mississauga Hospital J-Wing COVID-19 vaccination clinic, which opened in December 2020, the UTM clinic opened at a critical time during the third wave of the pandemic, providing the community access to vaccines as part of Peel’s Community Mass Vaccination Plan.

When the clinic launched, staff moved quickly to deliver 2,000 doses a day, seven days a week. As supplies increased, the clinic ramped up its capacity, administering over 5,000 doses a day at its peak. As a result, the clinic was able to achieve its goal of providing first and second doses to residents well ahead of schedule.

“We are deeply grateful for UTM’s partnership and support in vaccinating the community we serve during this pandemic,” said Karli Farrow, president & CEO of THP. “Together, with the Region of Peel we were able to expedite administration of the COVID-19 vaccine, resulting in quicker community access to first and second doses, and ultimately protection against the virus.”

Uniquely equipped to support the COVID-19 mass vaccination campaign, UTM not only provided an accessible facility easy to reach by car or public transit, but also supplied specialized freezers, typically used for scientific research, to store the vaccines safely and securely. At the same time, UTM staff shared their expertise, sacrificing their time to support the clinic in areas from human resources to environmental health and safety, from information technology to facilities management, from site security to communications

“The university is pleased to have supported these exceptional efforts to safeguard the health and well-being of our community and usher us closer toward an end to this pandemic,” Gillespie said.

Vaccine appointments will still be available at THP’s Mississauga Hospital J-Wing clinic as THP supports the region’s transition to a longer-term approach for vaccination, which includes primary care and pharmacies. For more information, visit www.trilliumhealthpartners.ca/covid-19/.