McGill opened its second walk-in vaccine registration centre from Sept. 14 to Sept. 17 in Redpath Hall—this time a four-day event rather than a single day. This second installment is part of the university’s sustained attempt to help students register vaccinations received outside of Quebec, and came in response to the high demand for a vaccine registration service demonstrated at its first on-campus clinic.
Some students, such as Kyle Minnie, U2 Education, appreciated the clinic opening again, but expressed their frustration with the long, slow lines, and low daily capacity.
“I appreciate that [this centre] is being done on campus,” Minnie said. “It is nice that they are doing it again for the whole week, but as you can see from this lineup, I do not think it is as efficient as a lot of students hoped it could be.”
McGill clarified that the centre would be able to register vaccines, but not administer them, in the event’s announcement on Facebook. The registration centre’s web page states that clinicians have the capacity to register around 100 students’ vaccination statuses per the centre’s eight-hour working day. The page urges students to book an appointment at a different site on the Clinic Santé website, or come back another day, if the line is too long.
Monse Cas, a PhD student in neuroscience at McGill, believes some of the problems with the centre could have been prevented with better planning.
“We have been waiting for too long, and I think [McGill] could have handled it better,” Cas said. “Maybe they should have opened registration […] so you could arrive at your appointment and not wait for […] six hours.”
Cas arrived at the centre around 9:15 a.m. on Sept. 15, and said that the centre did not register her vaccination status until seven hours later, around 4 p.m., at which point she had missed a full day of work at her lab. According to Cas, the people in line directly behind her waited all day as well, but did not end up getting their vaccines registered that day.
Minnie was at the centre for a second day, having left after fifteen minutes the previous day to attend class, when he spoke to The McGill Tribune. Though Minnie had planned to block out more time the second time around, he ended up waiting in line for a little over six hours to get his vaccine registered.
“Once inside it was a little more clear why the line was taking so long, since there were only two people doing the actual registration,” Minnie said. “Each registration only took like five to seven minutes, though, so there are still some unanswered questions about why it took six hours to get inside [….] I have to assume that the university was trying to minimize the number of people inside the registration room since there were security guards keeping count of people.”
In an email to the Tribune, the McGill administration pointed out that the centre resembled the typical pop-up vaccination clinics in Quebec and said more dates will be added if the demand for vaccine registration continues.
“Pop-up clinics like these usually average 100 vaccinations per day,” McGill’s media relations officer Frédérique Mazerolle wrote. “We are aware that many international and out-of-province students have experienced challenges with registering their vaccines and getting their vaccine passports [….] If there is still demand for more vaccine registrations at the end of the week, more dates may be added for the following week.”
McGill has since extended the dates for its vaccine registration centre. The centre will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 20 and 21, and will operate out of the Welcome Centre, located at 3415 Rue McTavish.