Ottawa H1N1 wristbands get mixed reaction
The City of Ottawa has developed a system that will let residents wait at home instead of in cold lineups to get their H1N1 shots, but not everyone is happy with the idea.
Dr. Isra Levy, Ottawa's chief medical officer of health, announced Thursday that the city will issue single-use, non-transferable wristbands that indicate just what time each person should be at the clinic for her or his shot.
Flu clinic info
Priority groups that can get the vaccine during the next two weeks:
- People six months to 65 years old with chronic medical conditions.
- Pregnant women.
- Healthy children between six months and five years of age.
- Health-care workers.
- Household members and care providers of infants younger than six months and of people with compromised immune systems.
Pregnant women will have the option to receive an H1N1 vaccine without adjuvants, or immune boosters, which is expected to be delivered in mid-November.
But the new wristbands were also causing some frustration Friday as people had to wait several hours just to get one.
"They have to be able to do something better than this," said Kanata resident Christina Ireland as she waited at the Kanata Recreation Complex in Ottawa's west end.
"It's complete chaos. As far as I'm concerned, it makes the city look really bad," said Amadeo Melone.
At various clinics across the city, people were given conflicting information about the new system.
"We need some consistency that they will be given out this many hours before the clinic starts, whether you need to have your children with you or not, to get a bracelet," said the councillor for the area, Marianne Wilkinson.
"These are the questions that have been changing day-to-day and making it very difficult for people," she said.
The city wanted to make it easier with its wristband idea. You get a bracelet with a time on it for you to return for your shot.
The idea is you can do something else in the meantime.
"So it's just a little change in the process to allow us to be more adaptable to the volume we're dealing with," said John Ash, the city's manager of integrated safety.
There was a more positive reaction to the wristbands at the Orléans Client Service Centre in Ottawa's east end, even though the waiting line stretched about 200 metres along the outside of the building.
It was cold and damp, but spirits lifted when people got their bracelets.
"I'm relieved, and I feel sorry for the rest of them waiting in line behind me," said Patricia McKenzie.
"We came on Monday and tried to get [the H1N1 shot] as well. We ended up missing out on it. It's a relief to know that we are finally going to get it," said Dave Sprott.
In a release Friday, the city said the wristbands will all be colour-coded and numbered.
"The number will determine at what time that individual should return to the clinic to receive their vaccination," the release said.
There is a limit of one wristband per person, but one person may request enough for four or five people in one household.
On Saturday and Sunday, wristbands will be handed out starting at 7:30 a.m. Clinics will begin vaccinations at 9 a.m., so people with the first colour-coded bracelets should not leave the clinic before getting a shot.
On weekdays, starting Monday, wristbands at all clinics — except at the administration building at 100 Constellation — will be handed out starting at 9 a.m. for clinics that begin vaccinating at 2:30 p.m.
At 100 Constellation, wristbands will be handed out starting at 1 p.m. for clinics that open at 5 p.m.
"It is important that those with wristbands arrive back at the clinic at their designated time, to ensure they hold their place in the queue," the city said.
H1N1 Flu Vaccination Clinics – Fixed Sites
Oct. 26 to Nov. 27
Kanata Recreation Complex 100 Walter Baker, Kanata, Monday to Friday 2:30 to 8:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Vanier Richelieu Community Centre 300 Des Pères Blancs, Vanier, Monday to Friday 2:30 to 8:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Orléans Client Service Centre 255 Centrum, Orléans, Monday to Friday 2:30 to 8:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Tom Brown Arena 141 Bayview, Ottawa, Monday to Friday 2:30 to 8:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
City of Ottawa Administrative Building 100 Constellation, Nepean, Monday to Friday 5 to 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
H1N1 Flu Vaccination Clinics – Roving Clinic Sites
Ottawa City Hall 110 Laurier W., Ottawa, Nov. 16, 23, from 4 to 9 p.m. Nov.18, 25 from 9 a.m to 3 p.m.
West Carleton Community Complex 5670 Carp Rd., Kinburn, Nov. 3, 25, from 2:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Jim Durrell Arena 1265 Walkley Rd., Ottawa, Nov. 4, 5, 9, 11, 12, 19 and 23, from 2:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Fred G. Barrett Arena 3280 Leitrim Rd., Ottawa, Oct. 30, Nov. 1, 7, 8, 14,15, 21, 22, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 2, 3, 6, 10, 13, 16, 17,18, 20, 24, 27, from 2:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Walter Baker Sport Centre 100 Malvern, Barrhaven, Nov. 23, 24, from 2:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Stittsville and District Community Centre 10 Warner Colpitts Lane, Stittsville, Nov. 4, 27, from 2:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Alfred Taylor Community Centre 2300 Community Way, North Gower, Nov. 1, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 26, from 2:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Osgoode Community Centre 56 Main St., Osgoode, Oct. 30, from 2:30 to 9:30 p.m. Nov. 23, from 2:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Place Sarsfield 2835 Colonial Road, Sarsfield, Nov. 2, from 2:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Ron Kolbus Centre (Britianna Park) 102 Greenview Ave., Ottawa, Nov. 5, from 2:30 to 8:30 p.m.
R.J. Kennedy Community Centre 1115 Dunning Rd., Cumberland, Nov. 14, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.