The Minden and Haliburton Rotary clubs are putting a call out for volunteers as they take on duties to help run mass vaccination centres that started April 7.

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit has tasked area Rotary clubs with managing the volunteers needed at the centres across the region. The Minden Rotary Club is handling the S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena which began April 7 while the Haliburton Rotary Club is doing the same for the A.J. LaRue Arena starting April 12.

Haliburton Rotary lead Ursula Devolin said the community response is strong, with all slots for the first week of clinics filled.

“We’re all eager to see this done,” Devolin said. “We’re a service club. Our job is to serve our community and I can’t think of a better way to serve our community.”

Each clinic will be running three days a week – Haliburton on Monday, Thursday and Sunday and Minden on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. The Haliburton clinic is also running April 16 and 23 as additional days due to extra vaccines. Spots are presently open to people age 60 and over through the provincial booking website covid-19. ontario.ca/book-vaccine or calling 1-888- 999-6488.

Duties include managing the entranceway and people coming through the centres. Minden lead Sally Moore said although there has been a strong response so far – with a list of 60 people ready for S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena – she would like to see more given the months of work to come.

“We need to build that volunteer list to be 200 or 300 people because we’ve got five months of clinics,” Moore said. “We have to keep the momentum moving forward.”

Devolin said volunteers will be provided personal protective equipment by the health unit. Volunteers will also receive instruction on how to keep themselves safely distanced from others throughout the process.

Anyone can volunteer for the Haliburton clinic by contacting haliburtonrotary@ gmail.com. The Minden effort can be reached at volunteer@mindenrotary.ca or 705-286-4922. Shifts are four hours, with two blocks each day. People can only sign on up to two weeks in advance.

“Haliburton stepped up,” Devolin said. “It’s a sign of Haliburton’s community spirit and people’s desire to get vaccinated.”

“Isn’t it wonderful to live in a community that (people are) being so willing to give up their time on such an important issue,” Moore said. “There’s lots of people sitting at home that are still wondering whether or not they can contribute, and I would say absolutely.”

Editor’s note: The original version of this story said the Haliburton clinic was running Monday, Thursday, and Sunday. In fact, the Haliburton clinic is also running Friday for at least its first two weeks due to extra vaccine supply. The Highlander apologizes for the error.

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