Residents over 50 in two Hamilton 'hot spots' soon to be eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations

Residents aged 50 and up in two Hamilton areas are set to be added to the province’s COVID-19 vaccination booking tool in the coming days.

As the Doug Ford government moves into Phase 2 of its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, middle-aged Hamiltonians living in the L8W and L9C postal codes will have the opportunity to get a shot as the province begins targeting “hot spot” communities across Ontario.

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The two Hamilton hot spots are on the Mountain with one community on the east side enclosed in an area around Upper Wentworth Street, Twenty Road East, Trinty Church Road and Limeridge Road.

The other on the west Mountain in an area northwest of Stone Church Road and Upper James Street.

During a pandemic update on Tuesday Hamilton’s medical officer of health said the rollout is to increase vaccine uptake in communities disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus.

Dr. Elizabeth Richardson said the areas chosen by the province were based on a review of hospitalizations and deaths over the course of the pandemic with a focus on older groups affected in wave two.

The MOH says public health is sharing wave three data with the province to include hot spots that have more recently been plagued by coronavirus cases to add to the province’s tool over the coming days.

“So what we’re looking at is more what we’re seeing now as we go forward and what fits more with this particular wave and negotiating with the province about how they could be the people in those hot spot areas could be vaccinated,” Richardson said.

Richardson says data surrounding test positivity and case rates as well as the degree to which people are actually getting tested are a part of public health’s analysis being shared with provincial counterparts.

“So we’re talking through with them what our methodology is and what we’re recommending as we go forward,” said Richardson.

Public health epidemiology specialists have identified L8N and L8L in the lower city as areas of high risk, and L9K on the west Mountain which also meets thresholds tied to case rates, percent positive activity, lack of access and at least one of the racialized or deprivation indices.

Thirteen public health units were selected in the initial plan with a focus on historic and ongoing areas with high rates of death, hospitalization and transmission.

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The province will also move to vaccinate individuals with high-risk health conditions including organ transplant recipients and people with neurological and kidney diseases. Caregivers from those groups will also be eligible in the next phase.

Richardson suggests it’s likely those populations will be vaccinated through family doctors and hospital clinics.

“So people have to be quite careful about when they might get vaccinated in that relative to the course of their treatment,” Richardson said.

“Their specialist knows best how to do that.”

Hamilton is reporting 114,631 vaccine doses have been put into residents’ arms as of April 6. The clinic at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) has administered the bulk of the shots, having jabbed about 54,000. Around 25,000 shots have been given at the St. Joe’s site, about 19,000 through the mobile clinics, close to 11,000 at the large site at First Ontario, close to 5,000 in primary care settings and just over 1,000 at pharmacy’s.

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Around 19.3 per cent of the city’s eligible population had received a vaccine as of the end of March, according to public health.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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