300 city staff to be redeployed to help with COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Hamilton

Hamilton's EOC Director, Paul Johnson, has announced plans for a major redeployment of city staff to assist with COVID-19 vaccine distribution. Don Mitchell / Global News

A major redeployment of city staff is expected in the coming weeks to support Hamilton’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution effort.

Emergency Operations Director Paul Johnson estimates 300 employees will be needed within fixed site and mobile clinics, as supplies gradually allow for distribution of more and more doses.

Read more: City apologizes for hotline outages during update on Hamilton’s vaccine rollout

Johnson says staff will be pulled from various non-essential service areas, including administrative roles, municipal service centres and museums.

He expects redeployments to ramp up in mid-to-late March, as clinics start administering thousands of doses each day, rather than a few hundred.

Johnson adds that as availability increases, “we want to be prepared to waste not a moment in helping people to get their vaccine.”

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The transferred municipal employees will support what Johnson is calling the non-clinical side of things, everything from “how people will get welcomed when they come, how they’ll be checked in and checked out of these clinics.”

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Municipal service centres in Flamborough, Stoney Creek, Ancaster, Glanbrook and Dundas will close to the public as redeployments occur, and all city museums will remain closed, except for Dundurn Castle and Military Museum, which is expected to reopen later this month.

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There will also be a reduction in proactive tree maintenance, as some employees are pulled from the forestry division.

Read more: Vaccinations start Monday for Hamiltonians, 85 and older

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Johnson says “essential” services, from first responders to waste collection, are not impacted by redeployments.

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton started administering doses of COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, to residents aged 85 and over, through a clinic at its West 5th St. campus.

A series of “pop-up” clinics, also by-appointment-only, will begin operating Wednesday in suburban and rural communities.

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