Montreal

Montreal health officials boost vaccination efforts in Parc-Extension

Health officials have been steadily picking up the slack in Montreal’s Parc-Extension neighbourhood where COVID-19 vaccination rates were found to be dismally low last month.

Vaccination rate more than doubles in one month's time

Walk-in vaccination hours will be expanded in Parc-Extension and more promotional material will be posted in Metro stations in an effort to increase vaccination rates there. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

Health officials have been steadily picking up the slack in Montreal's Parc-Extension neighbourhood where COVID-19 vaccination rates were found to be dismally low last month.

As of Wednesday, 43.8 per cent of the neighbourhood's population had received a first dose. In early May, that rate was just under 20 per cent.

But now the local health agency, CIUSSS du Centre-Ouest-de-l'île-de-Montréal, is looking to raise that number even higher with a big push this weekend.

The CLSC Parc-Extension's opening hours will be extended to accommodate walk-ins and a mobile walk-in clinic will be opened at the Howie-Morenz Arena. The agency says the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be offered.

Walk-in clinics will operate on a first-come, first-served basis.

The CLSC Parc-Extension, located at 7085 Hutchison Street, will be open this weekend and next from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Monday to Friday from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Walk-ins will be possible at the Howie-Morenz Arena, 8650 Querbes Avenue,  on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Along with the walk-in locations, there are several places people can get a shot throughout the day by appointment. Appointments can be made through the Clic Santé website.

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Montreal Public Health Director Dr. Mylène Drouin said the lower vaccination rates in certain neighbourhoods is not a failure on the part of health officials.

"We were expecting that it would be very difficult to reach out to those populations. I'm quite proud of seeing where we are right now. And we're not finished," she told CBC's Debra Arbec. 

"We're going to continue different strategies in workplaces, in parks, in worship places. It's going to take us a little bit longer."

Drouin said the neighbourhood, known as Park Ex to many, doesn't have that bad a vaccination rate when compared to the entire United States or other countries. 

However, she added, there is always more outreach to do to cross language barriers and overcome certain beliefs surrounding vaccinations. She said reaching the goal of vaccination rate of 75 per cent is doable even in places where reaching out to the population has proven difficult.

Drouin said health officials also need to make a stronger push to reach those under the age of 40 and there are still neighbourhoods "where we will have to work in the next couple of weeks to reach those populations."

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