Mark Clairmont |

SIMCOE-MUSKOKA — Frank Conway has no problem with curbside service.

Not at least with the health unit, which today reported just 6 COVID cases in Simcoe.

And none in Muskoka for the second straight day.

Conway was among 150 who all-day took advantage of extra doses of the Pfizer vaccine at the Gravenhurst High School pop-up clinic.

He rolled up his scooter at the gymnasium’s back door, rolled up his sleeve and in and out he had his second shot.

Frank Conway looks down, while his dog Mia looks up during curbside vaccine.

The children’s clinic was for kids 12 to 17, but only 100 teens signed up in advance  — though 48% of those youth have had their first vaccine.

So notice went out on social media this morning from the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) that hundreds of extra doses were available and it’d be first come, first served.

As long as you’d had your first vaccine no later than April 18 they welcomed your arms with their open arms.

When word of mouth spread on the streets of Gravenhurst like wild fire the lineups began and lasted till the doors closed at 4:30 p.m.

By mid-afternoon — beneath a blazing sun — more than a dozen anxious kids and adults were still waiting at the door to get inside the gymnasium, which was filled with chairs, tables, nurses and school custodians wiping everything and everyone down.

Jim White, 87, his wife Dorothy, 86, and daughter-in-law Robena Kirton line up today at GHS.

There were more people in the school than there had been for months.

And for those lucky enough to make it inside it was as if they’d scored the winning basket for the Raptors — or Gryphons.

Or won a Willy Wonka golden ticket.

On a normal vaccine day at the province’s regulation vaccination centre in Bracebridge they give out 500 doses and in Huntsville 700.

SMDHU says today those vaccinated in Gravenhurst will add to the 68,683 residents of the region who have already had their second vaccine, which represents 11.4 per cent both vaccines

There were more people in the GHS gym than there’s been in months.

Linda Stokes heard the word, donned her blue balaclava and rushed straight down from her Sarah Street home, up a block and to the end of Mary Street to get jabbed.

Now almost all her family are fully vaccinated, save for her husband Mike who is a courier and her 7-year-old grandson.

Her son, who is a flight attendant and worked part-time with the Ministry of Health booking appointments, is back in the air with West Jet now on domestic flights.

Soon as Sheila Overbeek was tipped off by Sandy Lockhart she flew in from Bala.

“I put a sign in the window: ‘Closed, gone to get second vaccine shot.’”

She was really happy after just reopening her Overboard clothing store last Friday.

Though a seasonal business, she said she never really closes and has been busy this spring with curbside service.

One of the oldest persons in line was Jim White, 87.

He and his wife Dorothy, 86, — and their son Mike and his wife Robena Kirton — were also glad to jet jabbed again.

Jack and Mary Jean Cline were conspicuous as they exited the gym’s back door — thanks to his blinding Neon yellow golf shirt.

He was beaming as he took time off from his Gravenhurst Archives volunteer job, in which he is “having a ball” cataloguing old hard copies of the MuskokaTODAY newspaper from 1994 to 2010.

Michael Evans, 13, of Huntsville and his brother Owen, 16, came down from Huntsville.

Michael Evans, 13, and his brother Owen, 16, came for their late afternoon appointment from Huntsville. They were happy to get No. 1 and will work on getting their mom, Sonia Booth, to get hers. She was just happy to give them the ride.

A half dozen or more people got turned away at the end of the day.

But not Pat and Al Taylor, of Bracebridge, who have tried hard to book a second appointment for months since their first shot April 6 and are on a drug store list with thousands of names ahead of them. They just barely got in.

Brian McFarland, of Bracebridge, came running back from his car when health workers found a couple more doses.

And as anxious as everyone was to get in there was a spirit of we’re all in this together.

Wilma Leaham, of Bracebridge, was last in the door.

A woman who was to be that last person in line gave up her spot to Leaham was with her daughter Colleen Western, who in turn gave it to her mom, who turns 78 on Friday.

Wilma Leahan, left, of Bracebridge, got the last shot thanks to her daughter, Colleen Western.

The clinic will be back open at GHS Saturday June 26 for youth and again if they have extra the public will be welcomed again.

But expect lineups.

This as Ontario reported 296 COVID cases today and 13 deaths. Yesterday those numbers were 447 and 4.

Toronto came in at 60 (110), York 15 (11) and Peel 62 (61).

North Bay-Parry Sound had 2 cases (5) and Porcupine 8 (39).

See more photos below.

Dennis Hobbins of Huntsville was happy to come to Gravenhurst for his second vaccine this afternoon,


  • 12,163 cases to date
  • 13 new cases this week, 94 last week, which was 38% lower than the 152 cases the week before.
  • 1 death in June, 18 in May, 25 in April, 12 in March
  • 3,939 Alpha variants, 156 Gamma, 30 Beta and 15 Delta
  • 680 cases have screened positive awaiting confirmation of variant
  • 442,200 + vaccines have been administered in Simcoe Muskoka
  • 376,200+ residents have had their first vaccine, which represents over 62.2% of the population.
  • 68,683 people have had their second vaccine, which represents 11.4 per cent of residents
  • 73% of adults 18 years and older have gotten at least one vaccine
Latest health unit numbers show positively where we’re headed.


  • A year ago today, on May 15, 2020, the health unit reported 4 cases — 1 of them in Huntsville.
  • Ontario’s 7-day average is now 479, its lowest since the end of September. In April it was 4,400.
  • There were 17,162 COVID tests in Ontario with a positivity rate of 2.3 per cent.
  • As of today there remain 5,000 active infections, compared to 43,000 at the height of the pandemic.
Mary Gauthier, of Gravenhurst, who turns 75 June 23 told nurses she wants more clinics in Gravenhurst.
Sweet! Allana Merrill, of Bracebridge, and Tana Allen, of Gravenhurst, with their golden tickets.
Linda Stokes, of Gravenhurst, was one of the last in her family to get the vaccine.
Sheila Overbeek put a ‘Closed to get vaccine’ sign on her Bala clothing store Overboard to race in to Gravenhurst.
GHS custodian Pat kept her gymnasium clean between people being vaccinated.
Allan and Pat Taylor, of Bracebridge, were finally able to get their second shot after months of trying.
Hayden Mahon, 17, of Severn Bridge, sets an example for other teens.
Frank Conway raises his head and smile as his gives his OHIP number to nurse Michaela.


28 years of ‘Local Online Journalism’

Twitter: @muskokatoday, Facebook: mclairmont1

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