Hamilton offers AstraZeneca vaccine clinic, Johnson and Johnson pause shouldn't slow rollout

Hamilton is set to expand its COVID-19 vaccination plan on Thursday with a one-week Oxford-AstraZeneca clinic in central Hamilton.

Despite recent shortages of the vaccine in Canada, public health says there is enough in the city to offer the clinics with the aid of its primary health partners at the David Braley Health Sciences Centre on Main Street East.

So the AstraZeneca supply does slow down for us as we go through May, but right now, we have supply in our community to offer those clinics,” Michelle Baird, director of operations for public health, told Global News.

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The shot had previously only been available to those aged 40 and older through Ontario pharmacies.

The clinic runs May 6-13 between 11:30 a.m. and 6:15 p.m. Monday to Friday and 9:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Appointments for the shots can be booked through public health hotline (905-974-9848, option 7).

Proof of age is required when someone shows up for their shot.

 

Free parking is being offered through vouchers provided by the city for the underground or the McMaster lot behind the science centre.

No walk-ins are permitted for the clinics.

Baird said the recent announcement of a boost in Pfizer vaccines from the U.S. to Canada should keep the city’s vaccination program on course.

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The news softens the blow of the Johnson and Johnson postponement by Health Canada over concerns with spoiled batches made at a plant in Baltimore. The city was expecting to get some of the 300,000 that were supposed to hit Canadian markets this week.

“The vaccine clinics we have planned for both our large scale clinics and our mobile clinics to date are not relying on Johnson and Johnson in our supplies,” said Baird.

“So for us, it doesn’t slow down our rollout in any way.”

On Monday, the city’s program began offering vaccines to anyone 18 and older in the city’s five hot spot postal codes via an appointment at a local large-scale or mobile pop-up vaccination clinic.

The initiative was aided by a change in vaccine distribution this week from the province.

On the advice of the Ontario science table, allocation to the general public and hot spots is now 50/50 as opposed to recent targeting which offered 75 per cent to the population and only 25 to hot spot neighbourhoods.

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Adults who live in the hot spot postal codes L9C and L8W can book an appointment using Ontario’s online portal and Hamilton Public Health‘s COVID-19 hotline, while those living in L8L, L8N and L9K can only use the city’s hotline.

Meanwhile, people over 50, individuals with high-risk health conditions or those who can’t work from home will be allowed to book jabs as per guidelines from the provincial framework on May 6.

“That does include those remaining elementary and secondary school staff,” Baird said.

Baird said the city’s vaccination sites at HHS, St. Joe’s, First Ontario Centre, and the mobile clinics are running at about 30 to 50 per cent at capacity due to a lack of supply.

Even with the federal government’s promise of a spike in vaccine doses arriving every week through May, the city’s medical officer of health says additional clinics — like the Rosedale Arena location revealed in the initial rollout plan in March — are likely not going to be needed.

“Really, we have sufficient capacity through all of those to address the supply we anticipate is coming over the next few weeks, so don’t really need to open another centre at this point,” said Richardson.

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As of Monday, over 11 million vaccine shots had been given out in Canada. Ontario has administered just over five million of them.

Over 196,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Hamilton with the bulk of the shots — about 70,000 — coming from the Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) clinic.

About 36 per cent of the city’s eligible population over 18 have received at least one dose.

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

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