Ottawa city councillor ready to be your vaccine chauffeur

Ottawa city councillor Riley Brockington is trying to remove barriers to the COVID-19 vaccine by offering to give people a lift to the clinic.

'Give me a call': Riley Brockington offers to drive residents to get their COVID-19 vaccine

River ward Coun. Riley Brockington is offering to drive residents to the vaccine clinic. (Stu Mills/CBC)

If you're ready to roll up your sleeve, Ottawa city councillor Riley Brockington says let's roll as he's offering to drive residents to get their COVID-19 vaccine to eliminate a key barrier.

Over the last few weeks, a number of young people told the River ward councillor they hadn't been vaccinated, he said.

Many said they were working or don't find clinic hours convenient for their schedule, he said, while many residents in his ward don't have a vehicle.

That got him thinking about how he could help. 

On Monday, he posted a Tweet that said, "Any River ward resident who has been reluctant to get their first COVID dose, is welcome to contact my office and make arrangements for me to pick you up at your home, take you to your appointment and return you home."

"Everyone needs to be vaccinated," he told host Stu Mills on CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning. "And if getting a lift to their clinic is the issue, I'm willing to drive them."

As of Monday, Ottawa Public Health said residents between the ages of 18 and 39 had the lowest percentage with at least one dose of the vaccine — 71 per cent of those age 18 to 29, and 72 per cent of those age 30 to 39.

All other age demographics, including youth age 12 to 17, report more than 80 per cent with at least one dose.

Safe transportation

Brockington's office has already been helping residents, especially seniors, with booking appointments and facilitating vaccinations, he said.

Public health has also gone door-to-door to give people their first doses in certain at-risk neighbourhoods, and there are pop-up clinics throughout the city for those residents.

Getting to a vaccine clinic is a legitimate concern for a number of residents, Brockington said, and not just in his ward. If people are willing and ready to go, he urged, "Give me a call." 

Vaccination rates for young people are a particular concern for Brockington, and he's heard getting to a clinic can be an issue. (Francis Ferland/CBC)

The councillor said he would take the required steps to make sure he can shuttle people safely.

"The car will be wiped down, and it will be cleaned and ready to go," said Brockington, adding he can help those with mobility issues to arrange transportation with Para Transpo.

Since he posted the message online, Brockington said he's had a strong response and his office has received a number of messages. 

If you are in Riley Brockington's ward and you need a ride to the vaccine clinic, you can contact his office at 613-580-2486.

With files from Ottawa Morning

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