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Robson Valley COVID-19 clinics celebrate 75 per cent vaccination rate


Two woman stand side by side wearing face masks.
Kelly Ward and Susan Umstot on the first day of the COVID-19 vaccine clinics in McBride.

The McBride and Valemount COVID-19 immunization clinics are celebrating after surpassing a 75 per cent vaccination rate among residents 12 years and older. Their success is largely because of the teams’ dedication to their work and communities.

Karen Desormeau, primary care team lead in McBride, reflects on their progress and the team that’s helped them reach this milestone.

“I can’t brag enough about the people I work with.

"Our champion is primary care nurse Susan Umstot. She is a woman of extraordinary energy and she is dedicated to the welfare of this community. She brings energy, interest, knowledge, and fun to our workplace every day.

“Primary care assistant Kelly Ward works with dedication in her role, and is our master of all things [immunizations]. She brings energy and humor to our work place, and is always willing to take on another task.

“Mental health & substance abuse counselor Tracy Finlay is also a paramedic, so she managed the after-care and first-aid stations. She brings entertainment and laughter with her, and her ability to listen and encourage.

“Practice support coach Judy Shawara worked as registration in our clinics, and is the most positive person I know. She is skilled at working through issues, and is always willing to help with our work.

Reception table at the entrance to a mass vaccination clinic
Staff were ready and waiting to greet community members at the McBride vaccine clinic. 

“Greeter/screener Adriana Caputo gave us her time at clinics from her hospital position. She is just one of those beautiful souls who is kind and gentle, and she was tireless at her post.

“I appreciate all the work and the people who work in Northern Health, which, in the end, allows us to vaccinate our community. I am grateful every single day that I live and work in the Robson Valley. I am very proud of our team for reaching a 75 per cent immunization rate!”

Judy Shawara, a practice support coach and administrative assistant, speaks of her positive experience while working in the clinic.

“I was thrilled to be a small part of these clinics to help protect our community,” says Judy.  “It gave such a positive feeling to know that we are on our way to a higher level of protection. I personally knew, or at least recognized from around town, over half of the people coming through the doors. Our team really cares about our community members, which is filled with friends and family.”  

Susan Umstot, a primary care nurse in McBride, also shares her experience of working at a walk-in clinic.

“I think welcoming walk-ins was really helpful and also meeting people where they were, if someone was nervous,” says Susan. “We had enough staff that we could take the time to answer questions, have conversations, and provide privacy.” 

Thank you to everyone who’s helped McBride and Valemount reach this important milestone!