Salmon Arm’s SASCU Recreation Centre has been the base of operation for Interior Health’s local COVID-19 immunization efforts. (File photo)

Salmon Arm’s SASCU Recreation Centre has been the base of operation for Interior Health’s local COVID-19 immunization efforts. (File photo)

Red Cross supporting local volunteers, health-care workers with Salmon Arm vaccinations

Interior Health responds to concerns that volunteers had been replaced at clinic

Among an army of local health-care workers and several casually dressed volunteers, a few flashes of red stood out at Salmon Arm’s vaccination clinic Wednesday afternoon, May 12.

The red vests were worn by the three or four Canadian Red Cross support staff showing people into the clinic set up at the SASCU Recreation Centre, or monitoring people for the 15 minutes they’re required to stay after being vaccinated.

Contrary to concerns raised that Red Cross staff were brought in to replace local volunteers, that didn’t appear to be the case.

According to Interior Health, there was some miscommunication and confusion when Red Cross volunteers arrived to support Salmon Arm.

In an email to the Observer, the health authority explained the province turned to the Canadian Red Cross to support volunteers with immunization campaigns across B.C.

Read more: Replacing volunteer staff at Salmon Arm vaccination clinic upsets MLA

Read more: Letter: Salmon Arm resident grateful after vaccination experience

“The Salmon Arm clinic will benefit from even more assistance as the immunization campaign accelerates,” commented Interior Health, noting the Canadian Red Cross aims to hire locally and, by transitioning some positions to a paid model, the clinic will be even more stable and reliable to operate over the long-term.

“Everyone is focused on the same goal – to make sure people have opportunities to get immunized as quickly as possible – and we’re continuing to coordinate options for local volunteers and the Red Cross to work together in Salmon Arm.”

IH added the Canadian Red Cross is supported by its own national infrastructure and its staff receive high-quality training which is aligned with the job-ready requirements of Interior Health’s clinical teams.
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