'It's great to see the uptake'; Halifax walk-in vaccine clinic a big hit

It was first come, first vaccinated at the Halifax Convention Centre on Thursday and hundreds of people turned up for a COVID-19 vaccine.

"It's great to see the uptake, people are anxious and really excited about getting their second doses and getting completed on their vaccination," said Renette Amirault-Laing, the site lead for the vaccine clinic at the convention centre.

Eight-hundred doses of the Moderna vaccine were up for grabs at the walk-in clinic.

"You are able to mix-match the vaccines, so if you've had Pfizer first, don't hesitate to get Moderna afterwards," said Amirault-Laing.

Those 18 and up were able to get their first shot at the walk-in clinic without an appointment, while those over 35 could get their second dose.

"I feel relieved that I am free to go anywhere now I hope," Catherine Feng said after getting her second shot of vaccine.

Everyone has their own reason for getting vaccinated.

"To help everybody get back to normal, right?" said Don Ross, after getting his second dose. "It's affected a lot of people's lives adversely so say September we can all go back to restaurants, decks and trips and that's all normal."

The walk-in clinic opened on June 29 and runs until July 16. So far, about 10,000 doses of vaccine have been administered at the site.             

"We do have some folks that are walking in that unfortunately they don't have access to internet, they're finding the wait time a little bit long on the telephone, so they're choosing a walk in on their time. They may have cancelled a couple of appointments and so this gives them the opportunity to come at their leisure, when they have time," said Amirault-Laing.

As of July 7, 1,062,418 doses of vaccine have been administered in Nova Scotia, 348,034 of them, second doses.

"While we've shifted focus to second doses, we still want as many people as possible to get their first dose, than their second," said Dr. Robert Strang, the province's chief medical officer of health.

"The more people who are fully vaccinated the better protected we all are from COVID and its variants, especially the Delta variant."

The walk-in clinic is open from noon to 7 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday. It's expected another 800 doses of vaccine will be available Friday for those looking to pop by and get a shot.