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OPH to bolster network to vaccinate surge in plus-18 residents


Ottawa Public Health has kept open many community clinics and so-called vaccination hubs that may expand hours to accommodate the swell of new eligible residents.

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As boosters become available to those 18 and over as early as Friday, the city now has a better framework to quickly deliver vaccines to tens of thousands of newly-eligible residents.

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The province announced Wednesday it was vastly expanding the pool of eligible citizens: from those over 50 to anyone over the age of 18, overnight adding about 400,000 people in Ottawa who will be looking for third vaccines.

Fortunately, Ottawa Public Health has kept open many community clinics and so-called vaccination hubs that may expand hours to accommodate the swell of new eligible residents.

The details are on the OPH website, but among the seven clinics open seven days a week are: the Nepean Sportsplex; the Eva James Centre in Kanata; J.H. Putman School on Bel-Air Drive; the former St. Patrick’s intermediate school on Heron Road; the University of Ottawa Minto Sports Complex; the Orléans Ruddy Family YMCA; and the Rideauview Community Centre in Riverside South.

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Appointments must still be booked through the provincial portal, starting Monday for the new 18-plus age group.

There are also 14 “vaccination hubs” that typically run two days a week. Among the neighbourhoods covered are Elmvale Acres, the Caldwell area, Heatherington Road, Lowertown and Vanier.

It was unclear Wednesday evening how those existing clinics and hubs might adapt themselves to accommodate surges in new, 18-plus vaccine candidates. About 125 Ottawa-area pharmacies have also been taking appointments or walk-ins; details are available on the Ministry of Health website.

Ottawa Public Health said it should have more specific guidance for residents as the week continued.

In a memo to the board of health Wednesday, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches made clear the situation was quite fluid, but the goal was to quickly boost capacity by working with partners across health care.

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“Earlier this week, we asked OPH employees across the organization to pause their routine work to support the COVID-19 immunization effort starting immediately,” she wrote.

“We have also reached out to local physicians and other alternative providers to increase the number of available immunizers. OPH is in the process of modifying the existing immunization strategy to offer doses to as many people as possible, as soon as possible.”

In the age-bracket system that Ontario employed, those over 18 first became eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine during the week of May 24.

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