Tentative plans for an on-campus COVID-19 vaccination site have fallen through after consultations with the MLHU and the city.
According to Western University's president, Alan Shepard, the university was in discussions with the Middlesex-London Health Unit and was keen to have a vaccination clinic on Western's campus to serve both Western and the larger London community.
But, the MLHU and Western determined the idea was not feasible because the vaccination centre — which would have been located on the ground-floor of the Western Student Recreation Centre — would have to be open in the fall.
“We told [the MLHU] that by the end of August our students will be back,” Shepard said. “We didn't feel like we could do that. So we could devote that space until the end of August and they really needed it into the fall, so they've elected to go elsewhere.”
Matt Mills, Western’s director of health, safety and well-being, offered a similar statement.
“Unfortunately, this was not feasible as the clinic would need to operate until the end of the fall term and we were not able to provide the type of space that would meet their needs.”
Currently, the ground floor of the recreation centre is used for COVID-19 testing for the Western community. Other facilities within the recreation centre are operating at reduced capacity.
Shepard expressed his disappointment that the plans were unsuccessful in a recent interview.
“We're sorry we couldn't help the community that way,” said Shepard. “But, we respect the decisions and [the MLHU is] trying to do their best for all of us.”
The MLHU said they could not comment on the negotiations.
According to Mills, the university will continue to have a dialogue regarding the potential of a vaccine clinic with the city and health unit as doses become more widely available.
The MLHU has since selected the North London Optimist Community Centre and the Earl Nichols Recreation Centre as COVID-19 vaccination clinic sites, in addition to the current vaccination clinics at the Western Fair District Agriplex and the Caradoc Community Centre in Mount Brydges.
The MLHU has also declined to comment on other facilities considered for vaccination sites due to confidentiality.
With files from Emily Tayler, Editor-in-Chief, and Rebekah Rodrigues, News Editor.