First workplace COVID-19 vaccine clinic opens at Maple Lodge Farms for Brampton employees
TORONTO -- A campaign to vaccinate employees at their workplace is now underway in Peel Region in what officials are calling the first of its kind public-private partnership.
Maple Lodge Farms hosted a pop-up clinic at its Brampton plant on Tuesday and will also be hosting clinics at its facilities in Mississauga.
“I’m so happy to have it. I feel more safe,” said employee Maria De La Cruz, who was expecting to receive the shot Tuesday afternoon.
Maple Lodge Farms says about 1,600 employees in Peel Region are eligible to receive the vaccine over the next two weeks if they chose to. However, the company says about 15 percent of eligible employees have expressed they are not interested in getting the shot.
“It’s additional security,” said employee Romualdo Bautista. “Having not to line-up, schedule (an appointment), you’re own workplace giving you the vaccine, that’s just awesome.”
Maple Leaf Foods said it will begin vaccinating workers at its locations in Brampton and Mississauga starting on Wednesday.
Amazon intends on hosting immunization clinics at its facilities on May 5.
This initiative comes after the province recently announced it would partner with large employers to offer on-site vaccination clinics for workers and surrounding communities.
Provincial criteria for selecting workplaces includes outbreak data, hotspot locations and willingness of the employer to operate and cover the cost of the workplace and community clinics.
Peel Public Health estimates the workplace clinics will administer 7,000 doses in the first three weeks.
Health officials say workplace exposure continues to be a major contributor to community transmission.
“By reaching out directly to residents and workplaces in hotspots, we can continue to address transmission in our community and quickly protect even more residents in our community, particularly those who cannot work from home,” said Dr. Lawrence Loh, Peel’s medical officer of health in a press release.
Brampton mayor Patrick Brown said on Tuesday that the workplace clinics are critical to help contain the spread of the virus in the community.
“The average age of a warehouse worker in Brampton is 36 and so current mass vaccination centres don’t meet their needs,” Brown said. “Hundreds of factories have expressed interest and now it’s just about working out the details and the vaccine supply.”
Each company is also planning to offer pop-up clinics for eligible residents in surrounding neighbourhoods and officials are still finalizing the details.