Hockey Hub: a COVID-19 Mass Immunization Hub model designed in Grey Bruce

The Grey Bruce Health Unit today hosted a media preview of the Hockey Hub, a model for mass COVID-19 immunization clinics.

Set up at the P&H Centre in Hanover, the Hockey Hub converts local hockey arenas to deliver thousands of COVID-19 vaccines per day. The model is scalable in that it can be expanded or contracted depending on the amount of vaccine available and the number of clients to be vaccinated.

Locally, Hockey Hubs are also being finalized at the Davidson Centre in Kincardine and the Bayshore Community Centre (community halls) in Owen Sound.

Set up in a standard hockey arena, the Hockey Hub can administer 4500 vaccines in a 10-hour shift of 5 vaccinators. Traditional large volume clinics administer about 1000 vaccines a day, employing 20 vaccinators. Conventional smaller vaccine clinics administer 400 vaccines a day, in a shift of 8 vaccinators. The efficiency of the Hockey Hub model is based on using clinical staff for clinical duties only and other staff for any task that is non-clinical. The Hockey Hub uses a streamlined flow-through process.

Once registered, the client remains in an individual pod for documentation, administering vaccine and recovery. The person administering the vaccine moves from pod to pod.

The typical set-up in a standard rink would have 150 pods with one nurse assigned 30 pods each. In the Hockey Hub, a vaccinator can administer 90 vaccines per hour. Given a sufficient supply of vaccine the three Hockey Hubs in Grey and Bruce could vaccinate 140,000 people or 75 percent of Grey Bruce’s population in about 21 days.

Conventional vaccine clinics would take considerably longer, months rather than days.

The Hockey Hub provides several efficiencies. Clinically trained personnel are focused on administering the vaccine. Other non-clinical staff take on the clerical and support roles. There is a reduced risk of injury/fainting as clients are immunized and recover in the same location instead of risking fainting while walking to a recovery area (fainting is a well-known risk in immunization clinics). The one-touch surface also means decreased surface cleaning to minimize the risk of transmission.

The model is also cost-effective. The Hockey Hub costs about $6,000 per thousand vaccines; about $1.7 million total for 140,000 population. Large volume clinics cost $26,000 per thousand or $7.2 million for 140,000 population.

“The Hockey Hub an ideal solution for large scale immunization, not just locally but across Canada,” says Grey Bruce Medical Officer of Health Dr. Ian Arra.  “There is not the quantities of vaccine in Grey Bruce to implement the Hockey Hub model, at this time. The model will only be implemented when sufficient quantities of vaccine become available.”