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Hamilton to offer Moderna COVID-19 vaccine clinic for adults over the long weekend

Jars of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are shown in this Dec. 30, 2020 file photo. Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The city of Hamilton has a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine clinic set for all adults aged 18 and up over the long weekend.

Public health says the clinic at the West End Urgent Care Centre on Main Street West will run for three days on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

All shots are by appointment only; walk-ins will not be permitted.

Officials are encouraging those interested to book through the province’s online portal for quicker service, however, the hotline is also an option at 905-974-9848, option 7.

Read more: Hamilton reports 2 more COVID-19 deaths, 50 per cent of adult population vaccinated

The occurrence is expected to be one-off and likely move on to another location, according to the city.

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“Available appointments are expected to fill quickly, more appointments will continue to become available as supply is received in Hamilton,” public health said in a release on Wednesday afternoon.

As of Wednesday, more than 7.4 million doses of vaccines have been administered across Ontario, according to public health.

An estimated 50 per cent of Hamilton’s adult population (over 18) have now been vaccinated with almost 257,000 does administered as of Tuesday.

Canada will receive its largest shipment of vaccines this week as Pfizer and Moderna will drop a combined 4.5-million doses by the holiday weekend.

With the province ending a campaign to send 50 per cent of all vaccines to COVID hot spots in Toronto, Peel and York, Hamilton may see a slight increase in supply over the next week.

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The announcement of the Moderna clinic comes the same day the city’s medical officer of health revealed some residents are “choosing between vaccines,” particularly passing up the Moderna shot.

Read more: Some Hamiltonians are choosing between vaccines, but no doses wasted, health official says

“Sometimes people show up and when they find out that it is Moderna that is available for them, they’re choosing to go and rebook their appointment,” Dr. Elizabeth Richardson told Global News.

Richardson insisted the both Moderna and Pfizer are “great” and “important” vaccines.

Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines, which differ from other vaccines in terms of how they help your body build immunity against a pathogen. Scientists hope that this new approach could lead to the rapid discovery of many new vaccines.

Read more: ‘No A, B list of COVID vaccines’ — Experts weigh in on NACI’s ‘mixed messages’

mRNA vaccines are essentially a blueprint for your cells, instructing them to make a specific protein that’s found in the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. When your cells make that protein, your immune system gets trained to recognize it, building antibodies that will help you fight off COVID-19 should you ever encounter the real deal.

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Dr. Colin Furness, epidemiologist and assistant professor at the University of Toronto told Global News he was surprised to hear that Moderna injections were being declined saying the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are “more or less the same thing.”

“I think there’s been a lot of confusion, very unfortunate bad communication around vaccine brand and what that means,” Furness said.

The doctor says there have been some rare allergic reactions to both vaccines and some other “unpleasant things” but generally have been very effective without consequences.

“By and large, the benefit that we get from the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is is so many times greater than the risk,” said Furness.

—With files from Leslie Young

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