The halls of the Mount Pleasant Community Centre rang with the sound of crying children yesterday as nurses administered H1N1 vaccines for the second week of mass inoculations against the flu.
The community centre was turned into an ad-hoc clinic, one of three large-scale venues doling out the highly sought vaccine in Vancouver.
Most patients were parents with young children as health authorities expanded eligibility yesterday to include kids between six months and five years of age and health-care workers, as well as pregnant women and people with health problems.
Patients were kept out of the rain in a makeshift waiting room, and waited about half an hour before being called by number for their turn with a nurse.
Dr. John Carsley, medical health officer, Vancouver Coastal Health Communicable Disease Control Section, said Vancouver’s three clinics can see 700 to 800 patients a day.
“As soon as … we’re done with the initial high-risk groups, we’re going to move to vaccinating school-aged kids,” Carsley said.
Last week, clinics across the country were overrun with people lining up to get the vaccine, and many were turned away because doses had run out.
Dr. Perry Kendall, the province’s health officer, admitted there have been some “bumps along the way.”
“Some of the demand was exacerbated by the tragic deaths in Ontario, resulting in long wait times,” Kendall said.
The opening of larger-scale clinics in Vancouver is meant to alleviate wait times and allow more people to be inoculated each day.