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Hamilton to receive ‘modest’ amount of COVID-19 vaccines this week as city prepares for next phase

Toronto, ON- January 21 - Pharmacy technicians finish their training by injecting each other with a saline solution. A new government regulation allows pharmacy technicians to administer the COVID vaccine. The training is eight hours, online for six and in person for two. Ontario is currently in a stay-at-home order with stricter restrictions to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto. January 21, 2021. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images).

As Hamilton moves into the second phase of COVID-19 vaccinations, the city revealed that seniors 80 years and older in retirement homes and other congregate settings are likely next in line for the shot when shipments arrive.

Medical officer of health Dr. Elizabeth Richardson says some retirement homes have already begun that process for seniors in facilities where people eat together in formal dining rooms.

More details on the city’s vaccination strategy are set for the next public health board meeting on Friday.

Read more: First case of the more contagious U.K. COVID-19 variant arrives in Hamilton, says public health

Richardson says larger-scale clinics are one of the models being considered as well as more mobile clinics.

“We want to be very mindful about mobility and ease of access to those sites,” said Richardson.

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‘This is a group we’ve been saying that you need to stay at home.”

After a month-long lull, Canada is expecting more than 400,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine this week and another 168,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine – two-thirds of what had been promised.

Hamilton is set to receive a “modest” amount of vaccines, in about the 5,000 to 6,000 dose range, according to public health.

Richardson says the amount is stagnant due to more communities across the province now eligible for vaccines.

“So we’re staying at about the same level of distribution, that’s why I’m saying it’s a fairly modest amount as we go forward,” said Richardson.

The city is expecting more towards the end of March as greater volumes of vaccines become more available.

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The city’s first phase of vaccinations will continue on the weekend with patients at the satellite health facility downtown, St. Peter’s Hospital on Maplewood Avenue, and alternate level of care patients expected to get shots.

The Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) fixed clinic is also expected to resume vaccinations for long-term care and high-risk retirement home staff, essential caregivers, and high-risk health-care workers on Friday.

Read more: No COVID-19 cases from weekend school clinics in Hamilton as province orders weekly testing

“Certainly the expectation is that early in March will be able to start reaching out to this next phase of people, particularly those who are over 80,” said Richardson.

Also included in the next phase are more health-care workers, Indigenous adults and adult recipients of chronic home care.

Hamilton has administered 25,593 COVID-19 vaccine doses — 17,239 at the HHS fixed clinic and close to 8,354 through the mobile clinic.

About 14,000 doses have been given to health-care workers, with about 5,000 tied to a staffer at an LTCH or retirement home. Just over 4,400 shots have been given to residents in homes and almost 900 to essential caregivers.

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