Therapy dogs help alleviate stress at Vernon COVID vaccination clinic | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Therapy dogs help alleviate stress at Vernon COVID vaccination clinic

St. John Ambulance therapy dog Cooper is one of two canines that will be visiting the Vernon Recreation Centre immunization clinic in October, 2021.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Interior Health

Two dogs with a very important job are helping people get vaccinated in Vernon this month.

Getting a vaccination can be scary for some but therapy dogs Cooper and Cruise are here to help. These highly trained, professional 'snugglers' will help alleviate stress for people nervous about getting their shot at the Vernon Recreation Centre immunization clinic Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1p.m. during the month of October, according to an Interior Health media release.

“Our therapy dogs are true experts in spreading joy and have proven throughout B.C.’s vaccine rollout so far to be a welcoming presence for those experiencing nerves or anxiety around needles,” St. John Ambulance chief executive officer Ty Speer said in the release. “Our whole team is proud to support Interior Health’s vaccine efforts and we’re thrilled that Cruise and Cooper can provide this vital source of comfort every Saturday for the Vernon community."

For many people, anxiety can be a barrier to getting vaccinated. The 'paw-fessional' therapy dogs aren’t the only ones trained to help people manage anxiety.

Let your immunizer know if you experience stress or anxiety with needles or injections, Interior Health said. Knowing this, your immunizer can help you find a comfortable position. You can receive your vaccine laying down or sitting up and you can even bring your own distractions, or you snuggle a pup.

People can get their first or second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by dropping in to an immunization clinic or by making an appointment.

To make an appointment, register online by visiting the provincial website here, call 1-833-838-2323 or visit a Service B.C. office to book an appointment.

For a list of all Interior Health COVID-19 immunization clinics and other resources visit the B.C. Interior Health website here.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Jacqueline Gelineau or call 250-718-0428 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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