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Mass vaccinations underway in WN

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West Nipissing has now joined other municipalities throughout the district in immunizing its seniors. 

Wednesday was the first day of the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit’s vaccine clinic in West Nipissing for individuals born in 1941 or before. The clinic continues until Friday. 

West Nipissing General Hospital CEO Cynthia Desormiers says it’s an amazing and exciting feeling. 

“There are a lot of emotions in there but everyone’s feeling good. We’ve had such tremendous help from our municipality whose providing the complex, the staff, our firefighters, public health, hospital, EMS, and we have a nurse from the CHC joining us as part of our immunization team so it’s a real community effort to make sure we vaccinate our seniors,” she said. 

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That community effort has been solidly planning for today’s clinic since early February. 

“We’ve of course been planning for the pandemic over the last 13 months… but for this clinic, it’s a good month and a half of planning. I believe there’s 400 scheduled for today and I suspect close to that same number tomorrow. I am not exactly sure about Friday’s numbers, but we’re anticipating 800 plus [over the next three days],” said Desormiers.

“The ministry has opened it up to the 75 age group so that’s going to bring a few more people in. [The Health Unit] is sort of discouraging it but the Ford government did state it was ok to book for the 75 plus age group. They’re certainly not turning anybody away.” finished Desormiers. 

The Health Unit says it currently has enough COVID-19 vaccine allocations from the Ministry of Health to vaccinate individuals 80 years of age and older, as well as highest priority and very high priority health care workers. The Health Unit is advocating for the province to increase local COVID-19 vaccine allocation, however, until an increase is approved, the Health Unit is asking individuals 75 to 79 to delay booking their appointment. This will help ensure the vaccines currently allocated to the Health Unit district will be used for the highest priority groups.

To book an appointment, visit https://covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine/

To book over the phone, call the Health Unit’s Call Centre at 1-800-563-2808. Choose option 5, and follow the prompts. The Health Unit is asking people calling in to be patient. “Everyone who wants and is eligible for an appointment will be able to book one,” says its website. “As a surge in phone calls is expected, we encourage families to support their parents or grandparents who are aged 80 and above with booking their vaccine appointment online.”

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