By Nina Badwal
– July 2021 –
Residents waiting in line at a pop-up clinic in St. James Town to get their COVID-19
More than 150 people came out on a sunny Saturday in St. James Town to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. A pop-up clinic offering the Pfizer vaccine was held outside on the grounds of an apartment building at 77 Howard Street on July 3rd.
Dr. Warda Iqbal from Sherbourne Health was on hand to answer any questions that residents might have. “We’ve been doing these pop-ups for the last couple of weeks and we’re finding that we’re definitely getting people who still need their first dose. We’re reaching people who have mobility issues; maybe they were a little bit hesitant or not very confident. Or they happened to be walking by – it’s the convenience factor.”
A security guard working onsite agrees. “This just makes it more convenient… My entire family is vaccinated and we’ve all gotten our second dose this week. We’re prepared even for the boosters that are about to come too,” says John.
Others are not as enthusiastic and will only get the shot if it’s made by Pfizer. Experts say there is a misconception that the Pfizer vaccine is superior to Moderna even though the two vaccines are similar in effectiveness.
“I think there’s a lot of misinformation out there, that’s one thing,” explains Dr. Iqbal. “I think people are also more familiar with Pfizer. Pfizer has been around for a longer time. Even though Moderna makes other stuff, they haven’t been making a lot of medications that people are as familiar with. And I think lastly, it’s also because Pfizer has been approved for 12 to 17-year-olds. So there’s this misconception that it’s safer but that’s not really the case. It’s just because they got to the trials first.”
After being vaccinated, people sit and wait during the 15-minute observation period.
At Saturday’s pop-up clinic, the doctor’s hope was to get about 120 people vaccinated. In fact, 158 doses were administered and 49 of them were first doses.
“I’m looking forward to someday being able to go out to a restaurant and have a meal. Go to a concert, see a movie – normal things,” says John.
Dr. Iqbal advises anyone who hasn’t gotten their first dose, that couldn’t make it to the pop-up clinic, to visit the Wellesley Community Centre. Residents of the area don’t need an appointment for the first dose and can just walk in; it’s open seven days a week.