City says it doesn’t have enough supply to vaccinate residents 50 and older in high-priority neighbourhoods
The COVID-19 vaccine immunization clinic at the Nepean Sportsplex in Ottawa, Ont. (CTV News Ottawa)
OTTAWA -- Residents aged 50 and over in three hot spot postal code areas in Ottawa can now book an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, but the city warns it doesn’t have enough vaccine supply to vaccinate everyone.
This morning, Ontario announced an extension of vaccine appointments at community clinics to residents born in 1971 or earlier who live in certain “hot spots.” In Ottawa, the hot spots have been identified as postal codes K1T, K1V, K2V.
In a statement Friday morning, the city said, “there is not enough vaccine supply to allow everyone aged 50 and older who live in these high-priority neighbourhoods” to book an appointment today.
“As such, appointments at community vaccination clinics are expected temporarily book up quickly following the system’s launch for appointments up until April 30.”
As of 1 p.m. Friday, the city said there were only 5,000 appointments for eligibile Ottawa residents to receive a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the month.
"We now have over 80,000 appointments booked until April 30," said Anthony Di Monte, Ottawa's general manager of emergency and protective services.
Di Monte says as the city receives more vaccine supply, more vaccination appointments will be made available.
"We generally get our vaccine on a weekly basis …and we suspect and we have the understanding from the province things now seem to be running more smoothly that will continue to get our vaccine allotment on a regular basis," said Di Monte.
Residents aged 60 and over living across Ottawa are eligible to receive the COVID-19 at a city mass vaccination clinic, along with residents over the age of 50 in the three postal code areas.
To book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment, visit Ontario's online booking portal.
"When people go into the provincial booking system, they'll be able to book if there are appointments," said Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa's medical officer of health.
"So the actual number of appointments that you'll see that are there, are based on how much vaccine we have."
The medical officer of health has the authority to focus vaccinations on specific neighbourhoods, based on local considerations.
Ottawa Public Health has previously identified high-priority neighbourhoods for targeted COVID-19 vaccinations, including setting up pop-up clinics in the neighbourhoods. The city says it will continue to focus its future pop-up clinics on the high priority neighbourhoods previously identified.
Staff are also planning mobile and pop-up clinics for residents and essential workers in these neighbourhoods, as well as adult home health care recipients.
FRUSTRATION WITH COVID-19 BOOKING SYSTEM
As the COVID-19 vaccine eligibility expanded to residents 50 and older in three Ottawa neighbourhoods, there was frustration and confusion over the process.
"That's unfair, people are expecting to get it and now they're not going to get it?" said Susan Redins, reacting to word there was only 5,000 appointments available on Friday afternoon.
Redins lives in K1V, one of the three postal codes considered a hot spot in Ottawa.
The 62 year old got her vaccination over the Easter weekend, but she’s worried about her neighbours who she says were approached by door to book their vaccination appointment.
"You come and have people knocking on your door asking if you want the vaccination, set up appointments and now they may not get it," she said.
Many people who live in the neighbourhood are essential workers.
"Especially for us... Since we are frontliners or essentials, definitely I suggest we get it," said Jocelyn Bautista, a 53-year-old retail worker living in the Heron Gate area.
Meantime, Redins hopes these appointments will come sooner for her neighbourhood.
"It’s been nothing but a fight for this area. It’s unacceptable," said Redins.
POP-UP CLINICS IN HIGH-PRIORITY NEIGHBOURHOODS
The city of Ottawa says it will focus future pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinics in high-priority neighbourhoods within the three hot spot postal code areas:
- K1T: Emerald Woods, Sawmill Creek and Greenboro East
- K1V: Ledbury, Heron Gate, Ridgemont and Hunt Club East-Western Community
- K2V – no high priority neighbourhoods
This weekend, the city will launch a pilot "micro" pop-up clinic that focuses on a specific area in Ledbury-Heron Gate and Ridgemont. A memo released Friday evening said the areas have been "disproportionately affected by COVID-19."
The city and Ottawa Public Health says community partners will be directly contacting residents to book appointments for the pop-up vaccination clinic.
A memo from Dr. Etches and Di Monte said residents 50 years of age and older living in the provincially identified "hot spots" of K1T, K1V and K2V are eligible for vaccine appointments at community clinics. Residents living in the high-priority neighbourhoods of Emerald Woods - Sawmill Creek and Greenboro East and Ledbury - Heron Gate and Ridgemont will have the option to book an appointment at either a community clinic or at a pop-up clinic.
VACCINES IN OTTAWA
As of Wednesday, the city had received 223,150 doses of COVID-19 vaccine. This week, 25,740 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, 11,000 doses of Moderna and 11,200 doses of AstraZeneca arrived.
A total of 195,217 doses have been administered.
Earlier this week, vaccination appointments opened in Ottawa for residents aged 60 and older.
High-risk neighbourhoods in Ottawa
The city of Ottawa has identified the following neighbourhoods as high-risk:
- Britannia Village
- Carleton Heights-Rideauview
- Carson Groves-Carson Meadows
- Centretown West
- Emerald Woods
- Greenboro East
- Hawthorne Meadows
- Heron Gate
- Hunt Club East – Western Community
- Hunt Club Park
- Lowertown (Lowertown East)
- Manor Park
- Parkwood Hills
- Sawmill Creek
- Sheffield Glen
- Stewart Farm
- Vanier North
- Vanier South
- Sandy Hill
- Whitehaven – Queensway Terrace North
With files from CTV News Ottawa's Jackie Perez