Launch of COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Hamilton’s Rosedale arena postponed due to lack of supply

Roughly 2,000 workers in Saskatchewan, mainly those transporting goods, will be eligible for the vaccination program. Kelly Linsale/bePress Photo Agency/bppa/ABACAPRESS.COM

Hamilton’s fourth large-scale COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Rosedale Arena is now on hold due to a shortage of supplies, according to the city’s medical officer of health.

On Wednesday, Dr. Elizabeth Richardson told city councillors that despite receiving 24,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday, all of that is expected to be used up at the existing clinics by the end of next week.

“We’ve had to make the decision to postpone that opening at this point while we talk more about vaccine supply,” Richardson said.

“So an opening date at this point is not known.”

Richardson says the current rate of exhaustion per day of all vaccines at the existing clinics combined is about 3,000 doses.

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“So you’ll see that will quickly get used up over the course of that week and leave us just a few doses at the end of that week to have on hand just in case the next shipment comes in a little late,” said Richardson.

Public health says what they are getting from the province simply doesn’t support expansion plans beyond the existing sites since shipments from other vaccine manufacturers have been problematic.

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Only about 14,000 doses of Pfizer are expected next week and the city is still awaiting shipments of the Moderna vaccine that were suppose to have arrived March 22.

Richardson says aside from the large health care clinics, there is an opportunity to ramp up vaccinations in the weeks ahead through a couple of provincially-run programs.

Primary care physicians now have AstraZeneca doses in conjunction with a pilot project to vaccinate individuals 60 and over. Richardson says about 4500 doses have been acquired so far.

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It’s also expected that Hamilton will be in the next phase of the Ford government’s pharmacy roll out when that program expands to 700 pharmacies from the current 350. Three pharmacies in areas of the city, where the coronavirus is more prominent, could join the program as early as next week.

“We’re looking at those areas that have higher incidence of COVID that are racialized communities where there’s been more incidence of disease,” said Richardson.

“We’re looking to focus that program again in those areas and go forward.”

So far, close to 97,000 dose of COVID-19 vaccines have been distributed in Hamilton as of March 31. The clinic at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) has administered the bulk of the shots having jabbed about 50,000. Just under 19,000 have received shots at the St. Joe’s site, 22,000 through the mobile clinics and about 6,000 at the large site at First Ontario.

Public health is reporting that 100 per cent of the city’s long-term care residents have received vaccines, 93 per cent of retirement homes, 85 per cent of long-term care staff, 45 per cent in retirement homes and 23 per cent of essential care givers.

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In the weeks ahead, the city is set to move forward with vaccinations for adults receiving chronic care, people in shelters, and others in congregate settings.

About 85 per cent of the city’s 85 and older population have seen vaccines while 70 per cent of those between 80 and 84 have had a shot administered.

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