As vaccine uptake slows, Ottawa closes half its community vaccination sites
It's 'bittersweet,' say health-care staff
Starting Wednesday, more than half of Ottawa's community vaccination clinics will shut down as the city starts winding down its mass vaccination program with rates slowing down dramatically.
The five clinics — which the city says are strategically located across Ottawa — "have the capacity to handle the anticipated demand for appointments," says a memo to council released late Tuesday.
As of Wednesday, the remaining open locations include:
- Eva James Memorial Community Centre.
- Nepean Sportsplex (Halls A and B).
- Ottawa City Hall.
- Ruddy Family YMCA-YWCA.
- Queensway Carleton Hospital (which has a plan to close on July 30).
The memo said along with the remaining community clinics, shots will still be available at pharmacies, doctors offices, as well as pop-ups with a focus on priority neighbourhoods and targeted populations.
The memo reports more than 1,370,000 doses have been administered in Ottawa, with 83 per cent of all eligible people now with at least a single dose, and 67 per cent fully vaccinated. At the peak of vaccination by the end of May and June, city officials reported they reached up to 100,000 doses per week.
City officials have said previously there remains approximately 300,000 people eligible for vaccinations, including about 130,000 children under 12 who are expected to become eligible later in the year.
But the pace of vaccinations has slowed down considerably.
By last week, the city began offering walk-in appointments at most centres for both first and second doses, with the number of open spots increasing from 500 on July 10 to more than 4,000 a week later.
"As we proceed with the vaccine rollout, other more targeted vaccine delivery channels will be prioritized to reach the remainder of the population," states the memo, signed by the general manager of emergency and protective services, Anthony Di Monte, and the city's deputy medical officer of health Dr. Brent Moloughney.
Looking for a quick and simple way to get your first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine? We've got you covered! <br>Eligible residents can drop-in at select <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OttCity?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#OttCity</a> community clinics.<br>Check out today's drop-in availability! <a href="https://t.co/DrStiLQnDf">pic.twitter.com/DrStiLQnDf</a>—@ottawacity
'Bittersweet' last day at closing clinics
Tuesday was a "bittersweet day," according to Dr. Lorne Wiesenfeld, a member of the vaccination team at the clinic in the Horticulture Building, located at Lansdowne, as the final day wrapped up.
The site has been open since Dec. 15 and the team marked 200,000 shots Tuesday.
"We've made a lot of new friends here and it's sad," said Wiesenfeld, who's also an emergency room physician at The Ottawa Hospital.
"Maybe it's a sign that we're starting to reach our numbers, and maybe we're no longer needed," he said. "We've made our dent in the community. That's reassuring."
The six locations that handed out their last vaccines Tuesday are:
- Canadian Tire Centre.
- Canterbury Recreation Complex.
- Horticulture Building.
- Infinity Centre.
- University of Ottawa's Minto Sports Complex.
- St-Laurent Complex.