New large-scale COVID-19 vaccine sites to open April 5 in Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray

A nurse who participated in the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine trials said she experienced a fever, chills and nausea after getting an injection, but she -- along with doctors and experts -- wants the public to know that these type of side-effects are normal and shouldn’t be something to fear. (File/THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tara Walton)

Starting April 5, new Alberta Health Services (AHS) COVID-19 immunization clinic sites will open in Grande Prairie and Fort McMurray.

The Teresa Sargent Hall in Grande Prairie’s Montrose Cultural Centre and the Suncor Community Leisure Centre curling rink at MacDonald Island Park in Fort McMurray will become COVID-19 vaccination sites.

The clinics were announced in a news release Thursday and are made possible through partnerships with AHS, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, the City of Grande Prairie, and the respective venue operators.

No drop-in appointments will be available at the sites.

AHS says hours of operation will be based on the supply of available vaccines.

“These new sites will help us achieve our goal of offering every adult Albertan the vaccine by June 30,” Minister of Health Tyler Shandro said in a statement.

“Vaccines are the path out of the pandemic: they protect all of us, save lives, and reduce the burden on hospitals and other health services,” he added. “When your turn comes, please book an appointment as soon as you can.”

As of Monday, all COVID-19 vaccination appointments in Fort McMurray will be at the MacDonald Island Park curling rink. COVID-19 immunizations in Fort McMurray that were booked at the Wolverine Community Health Services’ Thickwood Medical Centre will not be offered after April 4.

All vaccine appointments at Grande Prairie Public Health Unit after Monday will be moved to the new Montrose Cultural Centre site.

Free parking will be available in the parking lot to the south of the Montrose Cultural Centre for those receiving their COVID-19 vaccine. AHS said the Grande Prairie site will host approximately 60 vaccination stations.

According to AHS, the MacDonald Island site will host approximately 10 vaccination stations with the ability to expand to 20 if more vaccines are available.

Tracy Allard, MLA for Grande Prairie, said in a statement that the new vaccine site in that city will ensure residents get the vaccine as quickly as possible.

“This new site will help more people get vaccinated faster, which will help save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19,” Allard said.

Tany Tao, MLA for Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo, said in a statement that the new Fort McMurray vaccine clinic is more convenient and bigger.

“It will help us get more people the vaccine, which will protect all of us,” Tao said. “The faster we can administer these vaccines, the quicker we can safely get back to normal.”

To book your COVID-19 vaccine appointment or to find out eligibility for the vaccine, visit AHS’ online booking tool