Helping the anxious and the fainters at COVID vaccine clinics in southern Interior | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Helping the anxious and the fainters at COVID vaccine clinics in southern Interior

Volunteers with St. John Ambulance, like the ones pictured in this submitted photo, have been helping out at COVID-19 immunization clinics across the southern Interior.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/St. John Ambulance
May 05, 2021 - 6:30 AM

St. John Ambulance volunteers have been supporting COVID-19 vaccination clinics in the southern Interior with monitoring and first aid.

Currently, medical first responders from the charity are monitoring at clinics in Kamloops, Kelowna, Chase, Merritt, Ashcroft and Vernon, where up to 16 are on site at one time, according to a St. John Ambulance news release.

One of the volunteers in Kelowna, John Broughton, has been with the organization for 25 years and is currently spending time at the Trinity Baptist Church.

“So far, the experience has been great, and I’d say 99.9% of the people who come in to get immunized have a wonderful attitude,” he said in the release.

While he has not witnessed anyone at the clinic experience serious reactions to the shots, Broughton did out his first aid skills to use after one person fainted.

"Many people think that they are going to go into anaphylaxis, but they’re really just anxious, so sitting and talking with them calms them down,” he said.

The volunteers provide care after each person gets their dose. This includes 15 minutes of patient monitoring and first aid in the case of medical emergencies, like allergic reactions or injuries, while at the clinic.

Another volunteer, based in Kamloops, has been splitting her time among Chase, Ashcroft and Merritt clinics to give first aid support.

The volunteer, Crystal Wilson, has had similar experiences. She has dealt with fainting spells, but no serious incidents or reactions to report.

“It has been a beautiful experience and a privilege to be able to witness so many people coming together for the health and safety of not only themselves, but also their families, friends and communities at risk,” Wilson said in the release.

St. John Ambulance plans to continue to support vaccine clinics with plans to expand to more communities as the vaccination program expands and more volunteers join.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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