Paramedics hope to reach 6 times as many at-risk residents through mobile flu shot clinics

Hamilton paramedics will operate a series of mobile flu shot clinics this fall. David Goldman, AP Photo

Hamilton’s paramedic service hopes to vaccinate about 2,400 people through mobile flu vaccine clinics this fall.

In previous years, just a few hundred have been reached by the program, specific to a number of senior centres throughout the city.

This fall, EMS Chief Mike Sanderson says the pop up clinics are being expanded to homeless shelters and social housing buildings.

Read more: Winter in a pandemic: How cold air could make the coronavirus spread more easily

Sanderson says the goal is to avoid outbreaks of COVID-19 and influenza affecting the local health care system at the same time.

“With the risk of a simultaneous cold and flu season, it’s even more important now to get people immunized against the flu as early as possible,” he says.

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Sanderson says the targetted clinics will reach people who just aren’t able to get into a regular flu shot area or into the normal process.

Sanderson says it’s hoped that the local health integration network will pay the $40,000 cost of the program, as it has done for the past two years.

Read more: Ontario announces $70M flu shot campaign as part 1 of fall COVID-19 plan

The mobile clinics will start on Oct. 15, depending on vaccine availability.

Sanderson says two paramedics will staff them, typically with one paramedic per clinic.

The province is launching what it says will be the largest flu immunization campaign in Ontario’s history, spending nearly $70 million to buy 5.1 million flu vaccines to meet demand.

That includes 1.5 million high-dose shots for seniors.

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