In April 2021, ABB Canada was one of the first companies to offer employee support for Industry for Vaccination (IFV), a cross-Canada collaboration between the government and the private sector to accelerate nationwide vaccination.
As part of this initiative, ABB supported a number of vaccination hubs with staffing resources and financial support. With vaccination rates now around 75 percent, there is no doubt IFV and companies like ABB have played a significant role in nationwide efforts.
Walking the talk
Since the opening of the CAE vaccination centre more than 33,000 vaccines were administered, making the centre one of the most significant private sector contributors in Quebec’s vaccination efforts. ABB’s team of ambassadors, who started at the centre in May, included students, retirees as well as employees and, in some cases, family members.
On any given day, at least 16 ABB ambassadors would be on location, supporting part-time during the centre’s five-month operation. The role of ABB ambassadors was vital throughout the vaccination process, particularly on busy days when upwards of 800 doses could be administered. Their contribution began at the entrance of the centre and continued until the vaccinated left. Overall, ABB volunteers took part in various roles ranging from administrative tasks, registering visitors, and booking appointments, to vaccine transportation by way of data entry, taking over the important task of inputting vaccines dose and visitor information to the provincial vaccine register.
One of the ABB ambassadors was Jean-Pierre Guay, National Service Director for Electrification. Initially assigned to greeting visitors, he went beyond this role and used his service leadership experience to make the vaccination process more efficient. “I assessed the strengths of volunteers and posted more people to various points in the vaccination process to ensure there were no bottlenecks and people had a smooth experience.” says Jean-Pierre.
His contribution mattered even more when the number of people coming for vaccinations increased as a result of new age groups becoming eligible and government messaging. “We managed to keep the vaccination process moving, so that even as we had more people, the wait times were short. All of us ambassadors, full-time volunteers, the nurses and cleaning crew, worked as one team to ensure that the process was simple, easy, friendly and quick,” he adds.
Beyond volunteering, the CAE centre was home to a number of interesting stories. Niki Murphy, Head of Canadian Talent Acquisition and Advancement, was proud to see her mother, a retired nurse, administer the 10,000th vaccine dose at the hub. Angelo and Chloe Pesce, children of Country and Electrification Finance Manager, Vince Pesce were part of the 19 students hired to work as full-time volunteers at the hub and were amongst the many ABB volunteers who, not only helped out but also, received vaccines from the CAE location.
The CAE centre closed on August 20th, after successfully contributing to wider vaccination among Quebec residents. On September 23rd, CAE hosted a small gathering of IFV participating organizations, where Éric Deschênes, Country Managing Director and Head of Electrification Business, ABB Canada, took to the stage to express gratitude to all who contributed to this initiative.
“Throughout the world, the fight against the pandemic has generated a great deal of generosity and solidarity. Thanks to strong partnerships such as this one, we were able to quickly extend a helping hand and act where and when it mattered most,’’ said Éric Deschênes. He adds: “Collaboration and mobilization on the scale witnessed - which involved the private sector, the government and the population - was unheard of until now. It speaks volumes about our collective commitment to better the fate of our communities.’’
Other vaccination efforts
Besides the CAE centre, ABB contributed volunteers to the vaccination hub operated by aircraft engine maker Pratt & Whitney on Montreal’s South Shore which was responsible for helping administer more than 24,000 vaccines. ABB also contributed towards the operational costs of running this centre and a vaccination hub operated by Industrial Alliance in Quebec City which accounts for another 25,000 more vaccines administered in the province. Elsewhere in Canada, ABB contributed towards refurbishing IFV’s mobile vaccination clinic in Alberta, which is focused on rural communities and those working in remote areas.
Overall, the IFV initiative has helped vaccinate nearly 400,000 people in the province of Quebec. This effort heavily contributed to accelerating the vaccine rollout while reducing pressure on the province’s health network and put the economy on the track to recovery.