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Coronavirus: Ottawa to start administering COVID-19 vaccines in shelters

Ottawa will start administering COVID-19 vaccines to 860 clients of the city's shelter system this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Ottawa is ramping up its coronavirus vaccination campaign with plans to vaccinate roughly 860 clients of the city’s shelter system starting this week.

Each shelter in Ottawa has now experienced a COVID-19 outbreak, Ottawa’s medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches said Wednesday, with 220 people experiencing homelessness having tested positive for the coronavirus in connection with these outbreaks since mid-January.

Ottawa Inner City Health will administer doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to clients of the following six shelters:

  • The Ottawa Mission
  • Shepherds of Good Hope
  • Salvation Army – Ottawa Booth Centre
  • Cornerstone Housing for Women
  • Dempsey Community Centre physical distancing centre
  • Nicholas Street physical distancing centre

Earlier this week, Ottawa opened bookings for vaccination appointments to residents aged 80 and older in six high-risk neighbourhoods starting on Friday.

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Anthony Di Monte, the head of Ottawa’s vaccine task force, said Wednesday that just under 700 appointments had been booked by residents in these neighbourhoods by the end of the day on Tuesday.

These appointments are being held at four pop-up clinic locations in Ottawa, with the Greenboro Community Centre added to the temporary vaccination sites as of Wednesday. New pop-up clinic locations will be announced on Mondays.

Ottawa residents aged 80 and older who do not live in congregate care settings or one of these high-risk neighbourhoods will start receiving their vaccinations at community clinics later this month, with exact timing dependent on vaccine supply.

As for first responders, Di Monte also said that roughly 700 paramedics and 1,000 firefighters have so far received at least a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine so far, with some members of the Ottawa Police Service starting to receive their jabs on Wednesday.

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Di Monte noted that Ottawa has not heard yet whether it will receive any of the AstraZeneca vaccines that arrived in the country on Wednesday, as the province will make the final call on where those doses are allocated.

Ottawa has so far administered 51,404 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine out of a total 61,820 doses received to date.

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