Drop-in COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Overbrook fills up quickly
OTTAWA -- A drop-in COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Ottawa's Overbrook neighbourhood filled its 500 spots quickly Tuesday morning.
"I got here at 5:50 a.m., we were the first 10 people," Martin Hatcher said.
Hatcher received his dose of the Pfizer vaccine shortly after 9 a.m..
"I’m feeling good. The process was pretty sweet, very organized, pretty impressed,” he added.
Overbrook is one of 21 neighbourhoods identified by Ottawa Public Health as high-priority for vaccinations. This drop-in clinic is one of two this week. Residents must show proof of address in order to get a vaccine.
Lineups at the Overbrook Community Centre began before 6 a.m., but residents said things moved quickly.
"I kind of just waited like a minute or so to get my ticket and then I went back home and went to work," Ricardo Paulino, who showed up early said. "I’ve been going online on CTV actually, every day to see if there was any public openings. Last night I was home, I went online and said, ‘Wow, Overbrook Community Centre! That’s just around the corner from me."
By 9 a.m., all 500 shots were booked. Residents were given wristbands and an appointment time to return for their shots.
"This was great," said Paulino. "I thought I was going to be waiting here for at least two hours because they were only opening at nine and I was here at seven. It's great. It was fantastic."
In a statement to CTV News, Ottawa Public Health said it was not advertising these pop-up clinics widely, but would instead target neighbours in a variety of ways on the ground, including door-knocking, flyers, emails and phone calls with the aid of community partners.
"These clinics will not be promoted widely to the greater public as the intent is to reach individuals in specified areas," OPH said. "Due to limited vaccine supply, proof of address will be required to ensure eligibility. Community clinics continue and will be advertised broadly."
On Monday, Rideau-Rockcliffe Councillor Rawlson King tweeted a graphic advertising the pop-up clinic. The tweet was quickly removed.
“We have to try and strike a balancing act. At the same time [that] we’re trying to have more direct outreach to the wider community, this is really restricted to the residents of Overbrook because it’s a high priority neighbourhood,” King told CTV News Ottawa.
OPH said it would continue to focus future pop-up clinics and mobile strategies in high-priority neighbourhoods it has previously identified.
“We wanted to make sure people in this high-priority neighbourhood are vaccinated and, at the same time, we want to ensure we are actually targeting some of the more vulnerable people,” King said.
Megan Countinho says she only learned of the pop-up clinic after a screenshot of King’s tweet was sent to her.
"It was a coworker from work. They sent a picture of this event happening, and they were like 'Oh, Megan you work here,'" she said.
Even after nearly missing her opportunity for a vaccine, Coutinho believes keeping pop-up clinics discreet is beneficial.
"This is a great idea to keep it a little bit down low but you still give people the opportunity to come and get the vaccine if they want it," Countiho said.
"Although we heard about it by chance, it’s still a great way," Sundance Kabaca, who learned of the event through a neighbour, agreed. "We heard (about the clinic) from our neighbour. He was watching the news, I think CTV, and then we definitely went home and checked online the news again just to confirm."
A similar clinic in Overbrook will be held Thursday. Health officials at the site were advising people to arrive as early as 6:00 a.m. to ensure they get an appointment.
"I’m feeling great. It’s a relief, at least I've got my first one," Paulino said.