City of Ottawa plans for additional vaccine clinics as supply increases
OTTAWA -- COVID-19 vaccines are being administered at a new temporary clinic near two Ottawa hot spots this weekend.
The new clinic. first announced on Monday, is at the Infinity Convention Centre at 2910 Gibford Dr., just south of the intersection of Hunt Club Road and Uplands Drive. It was described in a city memo Friday as a "mega pop-up clinic." The site can handle about 1,700 appointments per day and is fully booked for this weekend.
The clinic is close to the forward sortation areas of K1T and K1V, which the provincial government have identified as "hot spots". The city says appointments for this site, which will operate again next weekend, can be booked through the provincial booking system, subject to appointment availability.
Dan Renaud received his vaccine at the Infinity Centre on Saturday.
"It was great, we live five minutes up the road so when we found out it was here it was great," he said. "I feel great, now that it’s over with. A little bit of weight taken off the shoulders, when you’ve got a family, it’s nice."
Another vaccine recipient, Amanda Vanikiotis, told CTV News Ottawa the location was very convenient.
"It’s really important just so that people who live around here can come and do it quick and easy rather than having to go everywhere else. If it was really far then I probably wouldn’t have as much time for it," she said.
With 43 per cent of eligible Ottawa residents and 37 per cent of Canadians receiving the first shot, infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch said there are reasons for optimism.
"By just about any metric we are doing really well now. Of course, we still need to get more vaccines, we still need to get second doses into people, we still need to expand first doses into people, we’re not anywhere close to where we need to be but we’re well on that path to getting there," said Bogoch.
Dr. Bogoch tells CTV News Ottawa Canada is now vaccinating as quickly as any other place in the world.
"I think the end of May is going to look very different from the beginning of May, the pace of vaccination is really ramping up and we’re going to realize those benefits soon."
Anyone 18 and older whose postal code starts with K1T, K1V or K2V is eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment through the provincial system.
The provincial portal is open to anyone 50 and older anywhere in Ottawa.
Individuals with high-risk health conditions, including obesity and people undergoing treatments that suppress their immune systems, such as chemotherapy, and the first group of essential workers who cannot work from home, including education workers, food manufacturing and distribution workers, and agriculture and farm workers are also eligible to book vaccine appointments through the provincial system.
Individuals with high-risk and highest-risk health conditions:
- Obesity (BMI > 40)
- Other treatments causing immunosuppression (e.g. chemotherapy, immunity weakening medications)
- Intellectual or developmental disabilities (e.g. Down Syndrome)
- Pregnant individuals
- Organ transplant recipients
- Other health conditions listed as highest risk by the Province of Ontario.
First group of essential workers who cannot work from home:
- Education staff who provide direct supports to students with complex special needs
- Elementary/secondary school workers
- Workers responding to critical events (e.g. police, fire, special constables)
- Enforcement, inspection and compliance (e.g. by-law, building inspectors, food inspectors, animal welfare inspectors, border inspection officers)
- Individuals working in licensed child care settings
- Food manufacturing and distribution workers
- Agriculture and farm workers
- Funeral, crematorium and cemetery workers
More drop-in clinics planned
Earlier this week, the city held drop-in only vaccination clinics targeting residents of six high-priority neighbourhoods. One was at the Overbook Community Centre on Quill Street and the other was at the AMA Community Centre on Hunt Club Road. More than 2000 doses were administered between the two clinics.
Next week, the city says additional drop-in clinics will be available for residents in the following neighbourhoods:
- Parkwood Hills
- Bayshore / Belltown
"More information on these pop-ups will be sent to the affected ward councillors," a memo to city councillors said Friday.
The memo also stated that vaccination teams are also attempting to vaccinate people in their homes in certain residential buildings.
"Staff are also working with community health centres and community housing partners to visit residential buildings in priority neighbourhoods identified by Ottawa Public Health, going door-to-door and floor-to-floor, vaccinating residents right where they live," the memo said. "These measures will help to reduce barriers for the most impacted communities and help us build community immunity."
City exploring additional capacity
As vaccine supply increases through May and June, the city says it is exploring "the feasibility of adding immunization capacity through the opening of additional clinics and establishing a drive-thru location" if supply exceeds the city's ability to administer doses using the methods already in place.
"Contingency planning is also underway in the event vaccine supply in Ontario allows the Province to move up second dose appointments," the memo said.
Currently, Ontario is following the guidelines from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) and delaying the interval between first and second doses by up to 16 weeks. Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said late last month that the province is committed to getting first doses to as many people as possible but, should sufficient supply be available, second doses could be moved up.
“If and when we have sufficient supply, we will be looking at moving closer together the first and second dose, but it's really important that we get first doses into as many people who are interested and willing to take it,” she said.
To date, more than 368,000 residents of Ottawa have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, accounting for 43 per cent of all residents 18 or older. About 28,000 residents have had two doses.