Brighton councillor sees residents’ relief as they get immunized

·2 min read

A Brighton councillor is seeing first-hand the emotions people experience while receiving their COVID-19 vaccines.

​Mark Bateman has been volunteering at the Cobourg Community Centre (CCC), which is one of two sites in Northumberland County serving as a mass immunization centre.

​“It’s really rewarding because you can see the relief on people’s faces,” Bateman told the Brighton Independent.

​He said there’s anxiety and apprehension out there but he’s witnessing an overall sense of ease after people get their shots. Bateman’s role at the CCC varies. Some days he’s charged with sharing information with residents about what they can expect following the vaccine and how to monitor for side effects.

​Bateman said he answered the call extended for volunteers because he tends to be proactive. “When there’s something going on I like to be part of the solution. The collateral damage of COVID is real and I want to be part of the process that gets us back to some level of normalcy.”

​Residents born in 1961 and earlier are eligible to book an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine through the provincial booking system. There are currently struggles with COVID-19 vaccine supply and reduced clinics as a result.

“Over the next couple of weeks, there will be fewer appointments at mass immunization clinics, because we have less supply, overall,” said Dr. Natalie Bocking, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge (HKPR) District Health Unit’s medical officer of health.

​Bocking is optimistic, however, with the recent federal announcement of an increase in Pfizer supply -- hopefully coming mid-to-end May -- this will change, and all clinics can reach full capacity into May.

​Meeting vaccine demand in Northumberland and Kawartha has been a challenge. Earlier in April, a Moderna shipment was delayed and then weekly Pfizer shipments were reduced from 5,850 doses to 3,500.

​Some 20-plus HKPR-area pharmacies are administering AstraZeneca doses to eligible age groups (as supply permits).

Natalie Hamilton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Northumberland News