Seneca News

Newnham Campus Vaccination
The Newnham Campus gym at Seneca is now a COVID-19 vaccination site for the North York General Hospital. The clinic is open to individuals in priority groups by appointment only.

March 17, 2021

Closed by the pandemic for a year, the Newnham Campus gym has found new purpose as a huge COVID-19 vaccination site.

As part of the province’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout, Seneca has partnered with North York General Hospital to become the site of its main community vaccination clinic. While the clinic is being run by the hospital, Seneca’s nursing students will be part of the medical team.

Monday at 10 a.m. sharp (no pun intended), the first vaccine was administered to a community member. The clinic is now open to individuals in priority groups by appointment only through the provincial COVID-19 vaccination website or through the hospital’s site.

Priority groups currently include people who are 80 years of age and older, health-care workers in high priority and very high priority risk groups and Indigenous people 16 years of age and older. Walk-ins are not permitted.

“We have a dedicated interprofessional team working at the clinic at Seneca to ensure the site is running smoothly,” said Danielle Ferreira, Clinical Team Manager, North York General Hospital. “In partnership with the North York Toronto Health Partners, and with support from Seneca, we are working to make sure our community is vaccinated.”

Many Seneca employees have worked to prepare the gym and help the hospital with setup. The team includes Athletics & Recreation, Facilities Management, Custodial & Support Services, Financial Services, Security & Emergency Services, the Seneca Medical Centre and Information Technology Services.

“It’s a real team effort to support the community,” said David Neale, Executive Director, Campus Services & Facilities at Seneca. “We have large spaces that are available on campus while we are working and learning remotely, and we’ve made them available to the hospital. They are running the clinic and we are assisting with logistical support.”

Additional cleaners and security guards have also been brought in to help with the clinic’s day-to-day operations.

Along with Seneca’s logistical support, students from the School of Nursing will be on site to assist with duties ranging from intake and discharge to administering the vaccines as part of their clinical placements. 

Seneca Vaccination site
Students from Seneca’s School of Nursing will be part of the medical team working at the Newnham Campus vaccination site.

Since the pandemic began, nursing students have not been able to complete in-person clinical placements in hospitals.

“Not only are our students able to help at the clinic, but they can benefit from the face-to-face client experience,” said Sharon Cassar, Chair, School of Nursing. “This is the first time many of them will be meeting with clients. They’ll use their therapeutic communication skills and practise history-taking, assessment, administration of the vaccine, post-treatment education and discharge teaching.”

The clinical experience on site will add to the training students have been getting using patient simulators at King Campus and medical simulation through virtual reality.

“It’s exciting for them because they can now apply the knowledge they have acquired in the classroom,” Ms. Cassar said. “The students will be great assets and have the opportunity to learn and grow as nurses.”

Seneca is also a participant on the Ontario Vaccination Support Council, which is leveraging more than 250 businesses, universities, colleges, associations and labour unions to provide support for Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts.

“It’s about how we can support the rollout of the vaccination and what facilities and expertise we can supply,” Mr. Neale said. “It’s also about how we can best support communicating the importance of getting vaccinated. The quicker we all get vaccinated, the quicker we can end the pandemic. That’s the goal.”

As more vaccine becomes available, more groups will be able to book their appointment following the provincial vaccination plan. To get the latest information, visit the COVID-19 vaccines for Ontario web page.