VICTORIA -- Researchers at a Vancouver Island college are putting to use their design and manufacturing skills to help with British Columbia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

Camosun College’s applied research department, Camosun Innovates, is working with the health ministry and Emergency Management BC to manufacture specialized trays to secure and transport the vaccines across the province.

The Camosun Innovates team has also designed and manufactured a device to quickly lift and move vials of vaccines from their original boxes to smaller containers destined for vaccine clinics. Because the vaccines must be kept at a stable temperature, each container needs to be filled in under three minutes, according to the college.

“The ability to quickly and safely transfer vials of the COVID-19 vaccine is helping to get it to where it is needed most,” said Gerry Delorme, a director with Health Emergency Management BC, in a statement Tuesday.

“Camosun Innovates’ ability to quickly imagine and produce manufacturing solutions each time we encounter a challenge is helping to ensure vaccines reach British Columbians,” he added.

The first test run of the transfer trays took place at Camosun’s Interurban campus.

The transport trays can hold up to 100 individual vaccine vials and are made of quarter-inch acrylic that is resistant to both shrinkage and extreme temperatures.

“Camosun is always ready to step up and help out in difficult times, responding to challenges big and small, global and local,” said Camosun Innovates director Richard Gale.

“Because the pandemic has been so challenging and persistent, it creates countless opportunities for collaboration and innovation, all designed to keep our loved ones safe and well.”

A full list of COVID-19 vaccination centres on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands is available here. A list of remote communities that are holding “whole community” vaccination events is available here.