Durham region has released more details about its COVID-19 vaccination rollout plan.
At a health and social services committee meeting Thursday, Durham’s medical officer of health said the region had most health-care workers, first-responders, essential caregivers and high-risk long-term care home residents vaccinated.
The region will now be prioritizing the vaccination of seniors 80 and over. Dr. Robert Kyle says the aim is to administer 10,000 doses per day.
As it stands, the region only has supply of one of the three Canadian-approved vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech. Staff expressed they hope they will obtain the other approved vaccines in the coming months.
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Priority populations will be notified to register for a clinic. Starting March 8, individuals will be able to add themselves to the cue through the region’s online portal or via telephone. A call centre will be up and running Monday to assist with requests.
Immunization will then begin Tuesday at Clarington’s Garnet B. Rickard Recreation Complex in Clarington and The Chestnut Hill Developments Recreation Complex in Pickering. Hours will vary by day:
- March 9 from 1:30 to 8:30 p.m.
- March 10 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- March 11 from 1:30 to 8:30 p.m.
- March 12 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- March 13 from 1:30 to 8:30 p.m.
- Effective March 14, all clinic hours will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
For Oshawa, clinic hours will operate from 7:30 a.m to 6:30 p.m.
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The region says the opening of other clinics in the region will vary. Here is a list of clinics in Durham:
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|Municipality||Clinic location||Opening date|
|Ajax||Audley Recreation Centre||March 16|
|Brock||Rick MacLeish Memorial Community Centre Arena||March 15*|
|Clarington||Garnet B. Rickard Recreation Complex||March 9|
|Oshawa||Durham College and Ontario Tech University||March 1|
|Pickering||Chestnut Hill Developments Recreation Complex (formerly Pickering Recreation Complex)||March 4|
|Scugog||Scugog Arena||March 15*|
|Uxbridge||Uxbridge Arena||March 15*|
|Whitby||McKinney Centre||March 15|
*Durham North clinics opening on a rotating basis on March 15.
Officials say residents can get vaccinated at the clinic most convenient to them. Workers in Durham designated to get the vaccine who reside outside of the region also have a choice of being immunized in Durham.
However, concerns remain around the accessibility of the clinics, particularly in Oshawa, where vaccinations will be taking place in the north end of the city.
“The populations that live in the southern parts of these communities are going to have to travel considerable distances in order to access the clinics,” said regional and Oshawa city councillor Brian Nicholson at Thursday’s meeting.
“There is the mobile strategy where it’s feasible and practical,” responded Dr. Kyle.
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Concerns were also expressed regarding making sure all residents are informed. The region says it is taking out advertisements in local media, and will be working with community partners like Lakeridge Health to circulate information.
During phase two of the rollout, Durham is expected to utilize its mobile unit in addition to primary care and pharmacy streams. Meanwhile, the region continues to look for full-time immunizers and registration staff.
According to Dr. Kyle, the region will “incur necessary costs to protect residents through the vaccine program.” Public health units including Durham can request reimbursement of costs to be covered by the province. On Thursday, Ontario announced $500 million in funding for municipalities.
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