Salvador Martinez, 30, gets his first COVID-19 vaccination at a clinic his employer, Hytec Kohler, brought to the Spallumcheen plant Friday, May 14. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

Salvador Martinez, 30, gets his first COVID-19 vaccination at a clinic his employer, Hytec Kohler, brought to the Spallumcheen plant Friday, May 14. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

North Okanagan workers get a shot at COVID-19 protection

Hytec Kohler brings Interior Health vaccination clinic on site

Jeff Keller is hopeful he can see his grandkids soon now that he’s had his second COVID-19 vaccination.

The 56-year-old Grindrod resident got a follow-up shot of Pfizer thanks to his employer. Hytec Kohler brought Interior Health to the Spallumcheen plant Friday, May 14 to offer vaccinations to any of the employees who wanted them.

“We wanted to give that platform to the associates so that they have an opportunity to get vaccinated and hopefully we will get back to normal,” HR generalist Maral Arvin said.

Keller watched as his co-workers got theirs but he was in line, too, hoping he could get his second shot.

“It’s just my own personal opinion get it done, I don’t like the mask, I want to see my grandkids,” said Keller, who had his first shot about one month earlier in Salmon Arm.

Most people are told the second vaccination could take four months, but there are opportunities at participating clinics to get it earlier.

READ MORE: More than half of eligible adults in Interior Health vaccinated

Salvador Martinez, 30, was one of the approximately 50 workers who got the shot, with more expected at a second clinic planned for May 21 for those who missed the first.

“I was going to do it any way but since the company brought it here I figured I might as well do it today,” Martinez said, after hardly flinching from the needle, which he said was way quicker and less painful than the tattoos on his other arm.

Arvin, 32, also had her first shot at work that day. She was the only one to bleed, which nurses said is rare, but she felt fine. In fact, it was a small step towards her dream of one day soon being able to take the mask off and travel.

“I wanted to get the shot not only to protect myself but to protect my family as well,” Arvin said.

There are approximately 135 employees at Kohler and Arvin is proud to say that there haven’t been any cases of coronavirus among those in the company.

Bringing the opportunity to be vaccinated to the worksite made it easier for staff whose schedules don’t allow them to access community clinics or wait in line at pharmacies.

“There are lots of people that are indifferent,” health and safety specialist Rob Bacon said. “If it’s there, they’ll do it so we’re hoping we capture those people.”

READ MORE: 69 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Interior Health


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Empty viles of the Pfizer vaccine line a container at an Interior Health clinic in Vernon. (IH photo)

Empty viles of the Pfizer vaccine line a container at an Interior Health clinic in Vernon. (IH photo)

Pre-prepped needles of the Pfizer vaccination are ready to be given at a clinic at Hytec Kohler Friday, May 14. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

Pre-prepped needles of the Pfizer vaccination are ready to be given at a clinic at Hytec Kohler Friday, May 14. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)