With thousands online and more on the telephone, Northumberland County residents recently grilled experts on COVID-19 vaccine plans for the area.
Northumberland-Peterborough South MPP David Piccini hosted a tele-town hall event March 23, which was live-streamed online and accessible by phone.
“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.
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 answer questions.
Here are some of the questions that were asked and/or information offered:
How do I stay informed about the vaccine roll-out plans locally?
Visit vaccineupdate.ca. Sign up to be notified of the latest vaccine developments.
Will my family doctor contact me when it’s my turn for the vaccine?
No. That was a test initiative for a previous age group. Eligible Ontarians, currently those born in 1946 or earlier, may book a vaccine appointment through Ontario’s portal at https://covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine/
Those who still have a red and white health card or require assistance with booking, can call the provincial vaccine information line number at 1-888-999-6488.
Why am I being directed to a vaccine clinic further away from one that’s closer to my home?
Public health says once 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 suggest residents check the system again in a few days as more clinic dates and appointments continue to be loaded.
What if I have mobility issues and need help getting to my appointment?
For people who need assistance, the acting medical officer of health said officials are exploring possible partnerships with paramedic services, and there may, in time, be the chance to get a vaccine at a doctor’s office or through home care support organizations.
Community Care Northumberland is also now offering rides to vaccination sites. This service is available to any person living in Northumberland County who requires transportation to attend their COVID-19 vaccine appointment.
OF NOTE: Again, presently, Northumberland residents born in 1946 or earlier can use the provincial booking system to make appointments. Visit https://covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine/
At the Cobourg Community Centre, clinics taking place March 25 to April 1 are now filled. More clinics will start next week and dates and times will be added to the provincial booking system in the coming days.
At the Trent Hills Emergency Services Base, clinic dates and times will be added to the provincial booking system in coming weeks, with clinics starting the week of April 5.
Natalie Hamilton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Northumberland News