East end seniors over the age of 70, or who turn 70 in the current calender year, can now get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus at the Ruddy Family YMCA-YWCA on Centrum Boulevard.
The Ottawa Public Health vaccination clinic first opened on March 15 for people age 80 and over. The program was expanded to residents 75 and over on March 22, but immediately encountered problems due to overbooking issues with the provincial booking system.
|The Ruddy Family YMCA-YWCA on Centrum Boulevard is the site of the main vaccination clinic in Orléans. STAFF PHOTO
Thanks to a glitch in the system, hundreds of spots at the YMCA-YWCA clinic ended up being overbooked. In order to tackle the problem, Ottawa Public Health set up a special vaccination clinic at the François Dupuis Recreation Complex in Avalon.
During the four-day period between Monday, March 22 and Thursday, March 25 2,306 people were vaccinated at the Orléans YMCA and 1,597 people were vaccinated at the François Dupuis Recreation Complex.
Elsewhere in Cumberland Ward, several hundred residents in the target age group were vaccinated at pop-up clinics at the R.J. Kennedy Centre in Cumberland Village and the Navan Memorial Arena in Navan which were restricted to residents in the rural part of the ward.
Robert Adams and his wife received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at the YMCA-YWCA clinic last Friday. They made their appointments over the phone after being placed on hold for over three hours.
When they arrived at the vaccination centre they had to briefly wait in the rain for another 10 minutes before their number was called and they were allowed to enter the building. Once inside, they had to confirm their appointment before finally getting vaccinated.
“It was all pretty straight forward,” said Adams who turns 75 in November. “It’s a relief to get it out of the way, but we still need to follow all the precautions.”
According to the latest data, the Pfizer vaccine is 90-99 per cent effective from developing COVID-19 related symptoms and 89 per cent effective against hospitali-zation and death after just one dose.
Adams and his wife have already made an appointment to get their second “booster” dose in July.
On Monday the vaccination program was expanded to anyone 70 and over. In order to get vaccinated, you must first book an appointment through the provincial online booking system or by calling 1-833-943-3900.
The current pace of vaccinations will be determined by the available supply of the vaccine. According to the most recent Census data, there were 4,675 people between the age of 70 and 74 living in the federal electoral district of Orléans in 2016. If you take into account the historical contraction between the two age groups over the years, there maybe as many as 4,000 individuals between the age of 75 and 80 currently living in Orléans,
At the current pace, most of those people could be vaccinated by the end of this week. Once that happens, the program can be expanded to individuals who turn 70 and over in 2021 if supply allows.