Kingston-area doctors distributed hundreds of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine at a series of drive-thru clinics in the region Wednesday.
Bob Tchegus, 58, received his first dose of the vaccine at the drive-thru clinic at Queen’s University’s Richardson Stadium, off Sir John A. MacDonald Blvd.
"I expected to be one of the last ones," says Tchegus of his age group. "Even though I’m closer to 60, I was grouped in with the 50. I’m just glad (the wait) is over."
He’s one of 300 people who got their doses at the drive-thru clinic set up by Kingston-area doctors for those 55 and over.
Last Thursday, the Government of Ontario lowered the age to get the vaccine at pharmacies to those 55 and over.
Dr. Elaine Ma explained some primary care physicians had been given doses by Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Public Health, as part of the local vaccine roll-out strategy.
Ma told CTV News Ottawa that when they were told on Sunday they’d be getting 500 doses to distribute, she felt the drive-thru system would be the most effective.
"We’ve run vaccine clinics for years and years and years and we’ve started doing drive-thru this past year with the flu shot and we were very successful. And so it made sense to be given the ability to give them to our patients," said Ma.
Ma explained clinics were being held at the same time across the region in Napanee, Amherstview, Ont., and in Verona, Ont.
"The other remote clinics are being done in the same three-hour block," said Ma. "We really wanted the 500 doses all to be given across the region, all in arms, as quickly as absolutely possible."
At the Kingston drive-thru clinic, 25 staff members went from car to car, taking patient information and administering doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Those on hand donating their time included doctors, nurses and administrative staff.
The drive-thru is an effective means of giving out doses, said Ma, because of the speed at which they can be given by health care workers, but also because patients with mobility issues don’t have to get out of their cars.
Ma said, depending on supply, they plan to use the drive-thru method in the future.
"The reality is we need a lot of shots in a lot of arms, so we need all different methods of getting them there," she said.
Tchegus says he felt the process was smooth.
"It’s the best thing going right now," explained Tchengus. "So I’m happy to have just have had it and get phase one done at least."