Municipal officials urging vaccination to avoid another lockdown

·4 min read

As Canada continues to battle the effects of a fourth wave, Chatham-Kent officials are urging more residents to get vaccinated in order to avoid a potential lockdown.

According to Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s Medical Officer of Health, it is still possible to dodge tighter restrictions in Ontario, but vaccination rates must improve.

“All options are on the table. The way to prevent that is to get our vaccination numbers up,” said Colby. “Obviously, nobody wants another lockdown. The province is really being reactive rather than anticipating that that’s going to happen necessarily.”

On August 12th, Ontario reported 513 new cases, the province’s highest daily total in the past two months.

Premier Doug Ford has not ruled out another lockdown if provincial COVID-19 cases keep rising.

According to Mayor Darrin Canniff, the solution is right in front of us, but more people need to step up.

“Our fate is in our hands,” said Canniff. “We need more people to step up. The solution is there. We just have to grab hold of it. I cannot see us going into another lockdown. I speak personally here; I just can’t imagine another lockdown. We’ve been through them. When the solution’s in our hands, it really hurts to even think about having to do that again.”

Don Shropshire, Chatham-Kent’s Chief Administrative Officer, said he also wishes more people would get vaccinated.

“We just have to get the message out to get people vaccinated,” said Don Shropshire, Chatham-Kent’s top administrator. “We’ve had three waves already. We’ve seen what the provincial government had to do in terms of restrictions in order to maintain public health and safety, and you’d expect that we’d be having to revisit those if the same conditions reappeared.”

Because it’s getting harder to find unvaccinated people willing to roll up their sleeves, Chatham-Kent’s healthcare workers are putting in the kilometres to locate them.

The Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit has started running more mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinics while also partnering with paramedics on pop-up clinics across the municipality.

“Wherever we can determine that there is a group of people that are willing to be vaccinated, they’ll send a team out there,” said Colby. “We go to workplaces, we’ve done schools even though they’re not open, and we’ve had some very good uptake on these pop-up clinics. We’re doing very, very well.”

Colby said the Public Health Unit wants to hear suggestions about where to hold clinics.

“Let us know, and we will come. We want to be very responsive and reach every corner of Chatham-Kent,” he said. “We started that process while the Bradley Centre was still operating and got very, very high accolades for doing that.

Colby said at its peak, the Bradley Centre was seeing nearly 2,000 clients a day. Now approximately 200 doses are given daily.

Pop-up clinics will be held at the following dates and locations:

- Wednesday, August 18th - Merlin Library - 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Pfizer)

- Thursday, August 19th - Blenheim Talbot Trail Place Park - 3 to 8 p.m. (Pfizer)

- Saturday, August 21st - Wallaceburg District Secondary School - 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Pfizer)

- Tuesday, August 24th Chatham Salvation Army - 10 a.m. to 4 p.m (Pfizer)

- Thursday, August 26th Chatham Memorial Arena - 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Pfizer & Moderna)

Walk-ins are welcome at all pop-up clinics, but those looking to schedule an appointment for a confirmed time are encouraged to do so by visiting or by calling 519-351-1010.

Seventy-six percent of Chatham-Kent residents 12 and older have received at least one dose, and 68 percent have received two. For residents 18 and older, 77 percent have received at least one dose, and 70 percent have received two.

As of August 12th, more than 132,568 doses have been administered in Chatham-Kent, with 70,660 people having at least one dose and 63,508 being fully vaccinated.

Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News

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