The Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit is tearing down barriers to make vaccinations an easier process.
Chatham-Kent residents who have been waiting to get a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will no longer need to make an appointment to get their first shot.
Chatham-Kent Public Health will be offering first doses to youth, ages 12-17, on a walk-in basis at all Bradley Centre Clinics. The Health Unit will be offering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines. This is the only COVID-19 vaccine approved by Health Canada for 12- to 17-year-olds. They can receive a second dose 28 days after their first dose.
The clinics will be held Wednesday, July 14, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Thursday, July 15, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Anyone aged 18 and over still looking to receive their first dose will also be accommodated.
“We don’t need appointments anymore for first doses,” said Chatham-Kent’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Colby. “All you have to do is show up at the Bradley Centre, and they’ll welcome you whenever they’re open. “We really are pulling out all the stops to make it easy for everybody to be vaccinated.”
Colby said not having to book appointments is part of their strategy to try to get more Chatham-Kent youth in for their first dose.
“We are working very, very hard to motivate people to come in,” said Dr. Colby. “If you compare that to Middlesex-London, which has got over 70% of their 12 to 17 vaccinated, I don’t know why our youth are not coming in. “We have plenty of vaccines to be able to vaccinate that group. We just need to get them in and roll up their sleeves.”
According to Colby, there is not a shortage of vaccines, and the number of vaccinated youth could be much higher.
“There are still people who are vaccine-hesitant, despite all of the evidence of how well it works,” said Colby. “I think we just need to continue to demonstrate that vaccination is doing a wonderful job at protecting the people of Chatham-Kent and Ontario and Canada and hopefully the world.”
The Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit reported on July 10 that 51 percent of residents 18 and older have received two doses of vaccine, and 75 percent have received at least one dose.
Appointments are still required for second COVID-19 vaccine shots. Those can be booked online at www.getyourshotCK.ca, or by calling call 519-351-1010. A number of local pharmacies are also giving out doses, and a full list can be found online at https://covid-19.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations.
Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News