Beginning Wednesday, more than half of Ottawa’s community immunization clinics will be closed as the city begins to ramp up its mass immunization program, with its mass vaccination schedule slowing dramatically.
The five clinics – which the city says are strategically located in Ottawa – “have the capacity to handle the anticipated demand for appointments,” said a council memo issued late Tuesday.
As of Wednesday, the remaining open positions include:
- Eva James Memorial Community Center.
- Nepean Sportsplex (Halls A and B).
- Ottawa City Hall.
- Rudy Family YMCA-YWCA.
- Queensway Carleton Hospital (which is planned to close on 30 July).
The memo said that as with the remaining community clinics, shots will still be available in pharmacies, doctors’ offices as well as in pop-ups with a focus on priority neighborhoods and target populations.
The memo reports more than 1,370,000 doses have been given in Ottawa, 83 percent of all eligible people are now with at least one dose, and 67 percent are fully vaccinated. At the peak of vaccinations by the end of May and June, city officials reported they had reached 100,000 doses per week.
City officials have said that about 300,000 people are eligible for vaccination earlier, including about 130,000 children under the age of 12 who are expected to be eligible later in the year.
But the pace of vaccination has slowed down considerably.
As of last week, the city had begun offering walk-in appointments at most centers for both the first and second doses, with the number of open spaces increasing from 500 on July 10 to more than 4,000 a week later.
“As we move forward with vaccine rollouts, other targeted vaccine delivery channels will be prioritized to reach the rest of the population,” said the memo, by the general manager of emergency and protective services, Anthony Di Monte, and the city’s deputy Signed by Dr. Brent Moloney, Medical Officer of Health.
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‘Bittersweet’ last day to close clinics
According to Dr. Lorne Wiesenfeld, a member of the vaccination team at the clinic in the Horticulture Building in Lansdowne, Tuesday was a “bitter day”, as the last day came to an end.
The site has been open since December 15 and the team marked 200,000 shots on Tuesday.
“We’ve made a lot of new friends here and it’s sad,” said Wiesenfeld, who is also an emergency room doctor at Ottawa Hospital.
“Maybe it’s a sign that we’re starting to reach our numbers, and maybe we don’t need it anymore,” he said. “We’ve made our dent in the community. It’s reassuring.”
The six places to give their final vaccines on Tuesday are:
- Canadian Tire Center.
- Canterbury Entertainment Complex.
- Horticulture Building.
- Infinity Center.
- Minto Sports Complex of the University of Ottawa.
- Saint-Laurent Complex.