COVID-19: Not enough vaccine supply for all aged 50+ in Ottawa ‘hot spot’ neighbourhoods to book appointments

The City of Ottawa is warning that existing COVID-19 vaccine supply will not be sufficient for everyone aged 50 or older living in “hot spot” neighbourhoods to book an appointment through the provincial system on Friday.

The Ontario government earlier this week unveiled a list of neighbourhoods dubbed high priorities for COVID-19 vaccinations, which in Ottawa includes postal codes starting with K1T, K1V and K2V.

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But Ottawa’s vaccine distribution task force had already been limiting the number of vaccine appointments it had open for booking up until April 30, given the constrained supply of vaccine doses flowing into the city.

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The city is warning that some people who are now eligible to book a vaccine could be disappointed.

“There is not enough vaccine supply to allow everyone aged 50 and older who live in these high-priority neighbourhoods to book an appointment in the provincial booking system today,” the city said in a statement on Friday.

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The city will advise residents when it has received confirmation of new vaccine shipments that would allow it to take new bookings past April 30.

The provincial announcement about “hot spot” neighbourhoods does not affect efforts already underway in Ottawa, however, to get vaccines to residents living in 21 neighbourhoods that are experiencing high levels of COVID-19 transmission.

The city’s medical officer of health, Dr. Vera Etches, has the authority to “further focus” on these neighbourhoods based on her assessment of needs in these communities. Ottawa will therefore continue its approach of using mobile teams and pop-up clinics to vaccinate residents in these neighbourhoods.

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Ottawa is planning future pop-up clinics for residents, essential workers and adult home health care recipients in these neighbourhoods, with more information on those vaccine sites coming soon.

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The province has also expanded vaccine pre-registration to so-called “moderate priority” health workers, such as those working remotely or in roles not requiring personal protective equipment.

Non-frontline health workers can visit Ottawa Public Health’s website to sign up for an appointment slot when they become available.

But the city is also encouraging those who work remotely to consider holding off on getting the vaccine until they are eligible based on their age, postal code or other factors. This will allow the city to focus its vaccination efforts on the most at-risk communities. the city said.

Meanwhile, all First Nation, Métis and Inuit residents in Ottawa aged 16 and older can book vaccine appointments at the St-Laurent Complex by calling 613-691-5505. The program is a partnership between Ottawa Public Health and the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health. Inuit adults can book an appointment through the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team by calling 613-740-0999.

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