A pop-up clinic in Meaford will administer COVID-19 vaccines to Thornbury residents next week.
“We're very excited to be in position to begin vaccinating our over-80 population next Tuesday and Wednesday with the Pfizer vaccine through a bit of a pop-up facility in our arena and community hall,” said Barb Clumpus the mayor of the municipality of Meaford at Grey County council meeting held on Thursday.
“It's been quite an exercise with staff volunteering to make phone calls on behalf of the local physicians who have rostered these patients in both the Thornbury and Bumstead [Meaford] clinics,” she added.
As part of the Grey Bruce Health Unit (GBHU) Vaccine Rollout Plan, pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinics have begun in communities across Grey County.
“The Southeast Community Health Center that is headquartered in Markdale just ran their vaccination clinic for their rostered patients over the age of 80 over this past weekend. It went off without a hitch and I've heard a lot of positive comments on it as well,” said Aakash Desai, deputy mayor of Grey Highlands.
According to the GBHU, 13,345 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Grey and Bruce counties as of March 11.
Dr. Ian Arra, medical officer of health for the GBHU said that through collaboration with local municipal partners, the health unit is establishing local clinics across the region to ensure residents have access to the vaccine close to their home communities.
“At this point, the only bottleneck is the supply of vaccines, which will be increased nationally and internationally,” said Arra.
“The new challenge in the coming few weeks, we'll be keeping up with that injection of vaccines in arms. And there's no doubt in my mind, we'll be ready for that when it arrives,” he said.
At this point, Arra said the region is receiving about 2,000 to 4,000 doses of the vaccine a week.
“We get notification about two weeks beforehand, however, these shipments can change just due to international supply,” Arra said. “We have been booking based on the shipments we have. We consume all the vaccines that we receive within one week before receiving the second shipment.”
Along with the pop-clinics, GBHU continues to operate its three mass vaccination hockey hubs at reduced capacity, in Owen Sound, Kincardine and Hanover.
“Yesterday at the P&H Centre, our hockey hub, 600 80-plus-year-olds went through the vaccination centre. No glitches and a lot of happy, relieved people and families,” said Sue Patterson, mayor of the town of Hanover.
“We are looking forward to when the vaccine is available to ramp up to start putting 4,000 to 4,500 people through there and seeing an end to this,” she added.
According to Arra, the health unit has mapped out additional locations in 17 municipalities throughout the region where more mass vaccination clinics could be established.
“As soon as we have enough supply for the vaccine, we will deliver. The only barrier so far is we need bigger shipments. And it's a matter of time to get that,” Arra said.
This week vaccine administration was prioritized for community health care workers in high-risk settings; residents over 80; clinics within First Nation communities; SOAHAC clinics for First Nation clients not living in First Nation communities.
The GBHU reminds the public that individuals will be contacted directly to book an appointment. Appointments are not available by calling or contacting the health unit at this time.
Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca