Flu Season: VHA brings influenza vaccine to frontline through mobile clinics across GTA
Flu season is here and with an ongoing pandemic, keeping essential healthcare workers protected from illness and infection like the seasonal flu is more important than ever. To support these efforts, VHA Home HealthCare (VHA) ran a series of mobile flu clinics for its staff and service providers this fall.
The program, known as the VHA Stop’n Shot, took place from November 22-December 3 across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
When planning the program, VHA Strategic Projects Supervisor Mandy Wong says convenience and access for VHA staff were her top priorities. The vaccine clinics took place in a medical bus, which is essentially a medical office on wheels equipped with the requirements and supplies to deliver health care comfortably to patients on board.
The clinics were staffed by VHA’s Tactical HealthCare Response Unit (THRU), a team that is highly skilled at immunization and has been heavily involved in running COVID-19 vaccine clinics this year.
“We know that our mobile home care workforce doesn’t always visit our offices, so we wanted to bring the vaccines to locations that are most convenient,” said Mandy.
Alongside Mandy, Susan Chang, VHA’s Director of Strategic Transformations and Partnerships and Dawn Ashford, Supervisor of Volunteer Services organized the project to ensure its operations ran smoothly. Together, they consulted with volunteers and staff teams across the GTA to plan locations that would be most accessible to staff. This included targeting hubs across the city that staff regularly visit to pick up supplies as part of VHA’s personal protective equipment distribution program to help keep everyone safe during the pandemic.
“The Stop’n Shot project aims to accommodate staff who are constantly on the move. VHA’s leaders wanted to provide this support to VHA’s dedicated team of frontline staff, service providers and volunteers,” said Susan.
“Unfortunately, we are still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, and flu season adds another layer of risk. However, the easier we make it for our VHA community to protect themselves and each other from the flu, the more we are protecting the clients and families we serve in the community as well,” she added.
The nurses running the clinics, including THRU team members Dunja Kreznovich and Narghis Soofi, say the experience was really positive for them and their coworkers.
“It’s a new project for me and I love it,” said Narghis. “Staff have told me it’s been hard for them to find the time to go a doctor’s office to get their shot, so they really appreciate our help.”
“We’re an enthusiastic and dedicated team. There’s a core group of us doing vaccinations. You can put us anywhere and we’ll do what we can to help,” said Dunja.
These two nurses also had some parting words of advice for VHA’s community:
“Get your COVID vaccine and your flu shot! They will help you and your loved ones stay safe this winter.”