Northumberland residents start receiving COVID-19 vaccines

·4 min read

When his time came to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, a Hamilton Township resident says the experience was seamless.

​Herman van der Veen recently had his appointment at the Cobourg Community Centre (CCC), which is currently serving as a vaccination clinic for the district.

​“I congratulate all the volunteers and the front-line workers for their clockwork set-up,” van der Veen told Northumberland News.

​“I was met at the door and then led into my spot for my vaccination. Everyone was so friendly and helpful beyond words. I experienced a great group of people that could not do enough to make you feel comfortable and I certainly was impressed with their dedication and concern.”

​Van der Veen said he’s thankful for the positive experience and appreciates the “unselfish work” of those on the front lines of the pandemic.

​At press time, eligible Ontarians, currently those born in 1946 or earlier, were permitted to book a vaccine appointment through Ontario’s portal at https://covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine/

​Northumberland County residents recently had a chance to grill local experts on COVID-19 vaccine roll-out plans.

​Northumberland-Peterborough South MPP David Piccini hosted a town hall event March 23, which was accessible by phone and streamed online.

​“I know you’re all very keen to get your vaccines…obviously we’re working hard, all of us, to vaccinate as many people as possible in every region of the province as I know everybody is keen to get back to life as normal,” Piccini said.

​The event focused on Ontario’s vaccine distribution plan as led locally and touched on the following topics: priority groups, booking vaccine appointments and the Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines. It also encompassed a question-and-answer period.

​Linda Davis, spokesperson for the Ontario Health Team of Northumberland, and the president and CEO of Northumberland Hills Hospital, Adrienne Bell-Smith, executive director of the Northumberland Family Health Team, Dr. Ian Gemmill, the acting medical officer of health with the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit, and Varouj Eskedjian, president and CEO of Campbellford Memorial Hospital, were on hand to provide answers.

​Officials encouraged residents to visit vaccineupdate.ca, as a resource for ongoing COVID-19 vaccine-related questions.

​Cobourg residents Jan and Norm Lundbohm told Northumberland News they applauded the work being done locally to organize and co-ordinate the vaccine roll-out.

​“We have never participated in a mass vaccination like this, but it was the smoothest, most organized group function we have ever known,” Jan Lundbohm said.

​“Within five minutes of walking in the door, we were seated waiting for our shots. After getting our jab, then staying seated in case of side effects, we were out the door in just over 20 minutes. Kudos to all for a job well done,” she added.

​Northumberland News heard from a few residents who had difficulties online with booking appointments at the CCC.

​A Colborne resident shared his frustration with trying to get an appointment in Cobourg and said he was referred to Quinte West instead.

​During the town hall, residents heard once public health determines a local clinic is filled, it will no longer be visible on the provincial booking system. This is when/why residents will be redirected to the closest clinics based on postal codes. Officials suggested residents check the system again in a few days as more clinic dates and appointments continue to be loaded.

​In addition to the CCC, the Trent Hills Emergency Services Base is serving as a vaccination centre in the county. Clinic dates and times will be added to the provincial booking system in coming weeks, with clinics starting the week of April 5.

​Community Care Northumberland (CCN) is offering free rides to vaccination sites. This service is available to anyone living in Northumberland County who requires transportation to attend their COVID-19 vaccine appointment.

​Those who have a scheduled COVID-19 vaccine appointment and require transportation can call CCN at 1-866-768-7778.

​Story Behind the Story: With the vaccination effort underway, we tuned into a town hall forum and reached out to residents who’ve had their appointments already.

Natalie Hamilton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Northumberland News