Society

Sticky notes of gratitude festoon a COVID-19 vaccination clinic

The notes cover three-quarters of the arena glass, creating a rainbow of hope

In St. Catharines, Ont., the Seymour-Hannah Sports and Entertainment Centre has been converted to a bustling COVID-19 vaccination clinic. Clinical manager Natalie Ferrero and her team of 80—including students, paramedics and nurses who have come out of retirement—provide up to 1,500 vaccinations a day. The clinic opened Feb. 17, the same day the first sticky note was added to the wall. Now, the notes cover three-quarters of the arena glass, creating a rainbow of hope and gratitude. “That’s what has kept us going,” says Ferrero. “It was very stressful, especially at the beginning, and the staff would read the notes at the end of each day.” After thousands of vaccinations and nearly as many thankful messages, one encounter stands out for Ferrero. “A little lady in her 80s came in one day. She was a cancer survivor, but her cancer had come back and she was starting chemo again,” Ferrero says, “And she started to cry. She said, ‘I haven’t been hugged in a year. I’m doing this all alone.’ I told her, ‘I’ve been vaccinated—may I hug you?’ And I did.”

 

The Seymour-Hannah Sports and Entertainment Centre in St. Catharines has been converted from a hockey arena to a COVID-19 vaccination clinic for Niagara area residents. Recipients are encouraged to leave a message about what getting the vaccine means to them. (Photograph by Carlos Osorio)

Vaccinated recipients leave messages about what getting the vaccine means to them (Photograph by Carlos Osorio)