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Vancouver’s Italian Cultural Centre ready to open as mass vaccination site March 22

Last Updated Mar 11, 2021 at 1:40 am PDT

The Italian Cultural Centre at 3075 Slocan Street in Vancouver. (Image Credit: CityNews)

The Italian Cultural Centre will be a mass vaccination site later this month, but people are already showing up

Executive director of the centre says he thinks everyone is just anxious and ready to get the COVID-19 shot

Staff have printed out small flyers in English and Italian explaining Vancouver Coastal Health instructions

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – While the Italian Cultural Centre in Vancouver prepares to become a mass vaccination site, it is already turning away some people who are showing up too early.

RELATED: Vancouver banquet hall vying to be community-based COVID-19 vaccination site

Mario Miceli, executive director of the centre better known to locals as Il Centro, says vaccinations aren’t starting there until March 22.

“I think everybody’s just anxious. They want to get this thing going. We had a lot of calls on Monday because we were in the media on Sunday, so a lot of phone calls to our office. A lot of drop-ins when they couldn’t get through on Monday,” he tells NEWS 1130.

But those being turned away are not leaving empty-handed.

“We put together a little slip that we hand people that is the information from [Vancouver] Coastal Health. They have to follow the procedure that we put together and what we’ve done is we’ve translated it into Italian for people who come to the Italian Cultural Centre who may not speak the language.”

Miceli adds he’s also been impressed with how fast Vancouver Coastal Health has been able to coordinate the mass rollout, so a banquet hall normally used to host weddings can be turned into an immunization clinic.

On Wednesday, Health Minister Adrian Dix announced people 85 and older in B.C. can start booking their COVID-19 vaccine appointments starting Thursday — which is ahead of schedule.