The Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit today announced that vaccinations will begin next week for those Northumberland County residents who were born in 1941 or earlier and who currently have a primary health care provider.
Thanks to a collaboration between a variety of community partners, an ongoing vaccination clinic is being set up at the Cobourg Community Centre starting next week. This clinic will act as a mass immunization site to first vaccinate area residents born in 1941 or earlier who are patients of a Northumberland County doctor or nurse practitioner.
A similar clinic will also be set up at the Trent Hills Fire Station to provide vaccinations to Trent Hills residents born in 1941 or earlier and who have a primary health care provider.
Starting on March 10, area residents 80 years of age and older who have a primary health care provider will be receiving a call to book an appointment. Appointments will begin March 16 and will continue for the next two to three weeks depending on vaccine availability. Any residents who miss the call to book the appointment will be called a second time. If there is still no answer after the second call, a message will be left providing instructions on how the resident can book the appointment.
Residents born in 1941 or earlier who do not currently have a local primary health care provider or don’t have a primary health care provider in Northumberland County can still book an appointment for a vaccination. These residents can book their appointments through the province’s registration system that will go live starting on March 15. These appointments can be booked online, but there will also be a phone-in option for people who cannot book their appointments online.
“Offering appointments first to older residents with a primary health care provider is designed to help to reduce the number of people expected to call the provincial booking system once it goes live next week,” said Dr. Ian Gemmill, Acting Medical Officer of Health for the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPRDHU). “Appointments are being staggered to help to reduce the pressure on the booking system and the vaccination clinics and is intended to use the vaccine in the most optimal way.”
“We know that our residents have been anxiously waiting for their chance to be vaccinated, and we are pleased to be able to work with so many different agencies within our community to make that happen,” said Dr. Gemmill. “All of our local health care providers and community partners want to get the vaccine into as many arms as possible right away, and staggering the approach is the best way we can do it with the vaccine deliveries that we are receiving.”
Community Care Northumberland will be providing transportation services to any Northumberland County senior who has an appointment booked. Individuals who have a scheduled COVID-19 vaccine appointment and require transportation can phone Community Care Northumberland’s transportation team at 1-866-768-7778 to register and request a ride to their appointment.
Residents of retirement homes and other senior’s congregate housing settings will still receive their vaccinations from the HKPRDHU, and those clinics will take place in those retirement homes over the next few weeks.
The vaccination clinic for residents 80 years of age and older is being organized by a number of community partners including the Ontario Health Team of Northumberland, the Town of Cobourg, the Rotary Club of Cobourg and HKPRDHU.
Once these older residents who have a primary health care provider have received their first dose of vaccine, HKPRDHU will assume responsibility for the Cobourg Community Centre and the Trent Hills Fire Station and host fixed site vaccination clinics for the next six months. Under the HKPRDHU Mass Immunization Plan, there will be two fixed site vaccination clinics held in each of the counties under the public health agency – Northumberland County, City of Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton County. HKPRDHU is also working with its health partners to provide mobile clinics and drive through clinics to help to ensure that residents throughout Northumberland County will have the chance to be vaccinated.
Once vaccinations of residents born in 1941 or earlier is complete, HKPRDHU will begin accepting appointments from those highlighted in the province’s priority groups – adults with high-risk chronic conditions and their caregivers, those unable to work from home, and older adults between the ages of 60 to 79 in five-year increments.
“We are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Dr. Gemmill said. “The HKPRDHU region has not been receiving as much vaccine as other areas of the province due to our low population and lower incidence of COVID cases. I have been asking people to be patient and that patience is about to be rewarded, as the province is telling us we should soon have enough vaccine to vaccinate all of our residents before long.”
Until everyone is fully vaccinated, Dr. Gemmill urges people to continue to follow the public health recommendations: stay home if ill, only go out for essential reasons, wear a mask when in public, practise physical distancing, and wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.
For more information, please visit the HKPR District Health Unit website.