Mayor Dean Backer was aglow from having just received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine alongside his constituents in Mattawa as he joined the Board of Health meeting for the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit, Wednesday.
"It was a well-oiled machine, and to see the morale, a sense of hope and gratitude," Backer told the other board members, "what I experienced tonight was magical."
According to Backer, a local physician shared with him that Mattawa is almost 40 per cent vaccinated.
"It's phenomenal," he added.
"The support has been really great. It's nice talking to the staff that are working at those clinics because they love going there," responded Andrea McLellan, Director COVID-19 Immunization Strategy for the Health Unit. "They say, 'it's such a nice place and everyone's so happy.'
"There are lots of emotions, lots of happy tears about getting their vaccine. We never have trouble finding staff to work at those clinics."
West Nipissing Coun. Dan Roveda echoed Mayor Backer's comments about what he has witnessed in his own community.
"The West Nipissing Community Health Centre was one of our partners and I think they did a bang-up job for the health professionals in my community," observed Roveda, while also thanking the Health Unit for its role in putting on the clinics, at which close to 400 combined were vaccinated.
Dr. Jim Chirico, the medical officer of health acknowledged the level of trust in communities and thanked "the can-do people," that have helped the smaller and larger communities work together "to help each other...We could never do it alone."
McLellan agreed, in small communities "partners have stepped up and taken on leading clinics on our behalf and all we do is supply the vaccine...West Nipissing, Parry Sound, Mattawa have stepped up and offered what they can to support their communities."