Ottawa plans to begin mass vaccinating residents over 80 later this month

OTTAWA — As more COVID-19 doses arrive in Ottawa, the head of Ottawa’s vaccination task force is suggesting mass vaccinations of residents over the age of 80 will begin later this month.

The city began vaccinating police officers on Wednesday, while the first vaccine clinics for people experiencing homelessness will begin on Thursday. On Friday, the city will hold the first pop-up vaccination clinics targeting residents over the age of 80 in seven high-risk neighbourhoods.

Ottawa’s general manager of emergency and protective services Anthony Di Monte told reporters Wednesday afternoon that the city needs more doses so it can reach all residents over the age of 80.

“As for next steps, community clinics are expected to open for all Ottawa residents who were born in or before 1941, or who are adult recipients of chronic home care, when there are enough vaccines available in Ottawa,” said Di Monte. “We are expecting this to happen later in March, however, if there is enough vaccine supply.”

The first shipment of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Canada on Wednesday. The city expects to receive 13,000 to 14,000 doses of the 500,000 AstraZeneca doses. 

“We can turn the switch on to be able to vaccinate more people based on what we’re receiving,” said Di Monte.

Shortly after Di Monte and medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches spoke to reporters, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization issued new guidelines for administering COVID-19 vaccines.   The NACI says the second dose of COVID-19 vaccines can be given up to four months after the first.

Di Monte says any plans to ramp up vaccination efforts depends on how many vaccines the city receives.

“We’re not holding anything back and we’re using everything we have. The fridges are bare once the week is over and we’re looking forward to getting our next batch the next week.”

Di Monte says 695 appointments have been booked for the first three pop-up vaccination clinics for residents over the age of 80 in high-risk neighbourhoods this week, with another 365 appointments booked at the Wabano Centre at St. Laurent.

The city has received over 2,000 phone calls about the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to the city, only residents who were born in or before 1941, or who are adult recipients of chronic home care, and who live in the following communities will be able to book appointments:

  • Emerald Woods
  • Heatherington
  • Ledbury
  • Heron Gate
  • Ridgemont
  • Riverview
  • Sawmill Creek

Di Monte says the locations for the next pop-up clinics will be announced every Monday.

On Tuesday, the city unveiled the list of high priority neighbourhoods that would be offered COVID-19 vaccines through pop-up clinics next, once more COVID-19 vaccines are available. 

  • Bayshore – Belltown
  • Britannia Village
  • Carleton Heights – Rideauview
  • Carlington
  • Carson Grove – Carson Meadows
  • Greenboro East
  • Hawthorne Meadows – Sheffield Glen
  • Hunt Club East – Western Community
  • Hunt Club Park
  • Lowertown
  • Manor Park
  • Overbrook – McArthur
  • Parkwood Hills – Stewart Farm
  • Sandy Hill
  • Vanier North
  • Vanier South
  • West Centretown
  • Whitehaven – Queensway Terrace North

As of March 3, the city has received 61,820 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. A total of 51,404 doses have been administered – first and second shots.

Di Monte says 700 paramedics have received the first dose of the vaccine, with 400 paramedics receiving both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Approximately 1,000 firefighters have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We understand that everyone is eager to receive their COVID-19, however we need to remain patient,” said Di Monte.

When the city begins to vaccinate all residents, seven mass vaccinate clinics will be opened in Ottawa, operating from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.

The planned clinic locations are:

  • Ruddy Family YMCA-YWCA, 265 Centrum Blvd.
  • St. Laurent Complex, 525 Coté St.
  • Horticulture Building, Lansdowne Park, 1525 Princess Patricia Way
  • Canterbury Recreation Complex, 2185 Arch St.
  • Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Ave. W
  • Nepean Sportsplex, 1701 Woodroffe Ave.
  • Eva James Memorial Community Centre, 65 Stonehaven Dr. 

There will also be a clinic at the Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus and a second hospital clinic at the Queensway Carleton Hospital.

Mayor Jim Watson told CTV News Ottawa on Sunday that Ottawa could open mass vaccination clinics earlier than planned if more doses arrive.

“The more supply, we will open our centres, our main geographic centres, even sooner,” said Watson.

“We’ve got to build up that supply, but as soon as we can get confirmation on delivery and receipt, we will obviously not wait until the 15th of March. If we can do it ahead of that, all the better.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has consistently said the government will have enough COVID-19 vaccines to administer all Canadians by September. On Wednesday, Trudeau said it’s possible the timeline could be speeded up as more vaccines are approved.

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