Vaccine delivery delays stop Hamilton from expanding rollout

·2 min read

Public health still doesn’t know when it can open its planned COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Rosedale Arena while Hamilton awaits further supply.

The city’s medical officer of health told council last month that Hamilton’s fourth mass clinic, originally set to open in early April, couldn’t proceed until the city had more doses.

“There are no updates at this time,” public health said in an email Monday.

Hamilton has about 28,786 doses in stock, spokesperson James Berry said in an email on Tuesday. On Monday, Hamilton administered 3,219 doses through its various clinics, according to city data.

In Monday’s briefing, Dr. Elizabeth Richardson indicated Hamilton only has enough vaccine to maintain capacity, noting the city received about 16,000 doses last week and administered about as many.

“We do keep a small reserve ... just in case a vaccine shipment is delayed,” she said, noting the cushion is about a day’s worth of vaccine or less. “We don’t want to end up in a situation where we’re having to cancel appointments.”

In Ontario, Pfizer vaccine deliveries are stable, while Moderna has had delays, according to a technical briefing with government officials early Tuesday. The government does not allow officials in the briefing to be named or directly quoted.

The delays mean plans are still up in the air for when Hamilton can open its new clinic.

Meanwhile, the city is allocating doses to target groups, including in hot spot neighbourhoods, homebound residents and those with eligible health conditions, Richardson said Monday. She noted the city is looking at how to vaccinate others eligible in Phase 2.

The province previously designated the L8W and L9C postal codes as “hot spots” where residents 50 years and older are eligible for their vaccines. The city asked the province to add three more — L8N, L8L and L9K — that a more recent analysis identified as hot spots.

However, public health said Monday that the province “will not be adding the additional postal codes to their online booking tool.” Residents who are at least 50 years old in the latter three postal codes can still phone Hamilton’s COVID-19 hotline to book an appointment, public health said.

Maria Iqbal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator