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Hamilton ‘winding-down’ large scale COVID-19 vaccination clinics with closures in August

Hamilton public health has revealed closing dates in August for its three large-scale mass COVID-19 vaccination clinics and will be reaching out to individuals who have appointments booked after a shut down.

In a release on Wednesday, the city said the Hamilton Health Sciences clinic on Wellington will shutter on Aug. 3, the St Joseph’s clinic on West 5th on Aug. 17, and FirstOntario Centre on Aug. 29.

“As the number of people remaining to be vaccinated becomes smaller, and how they would like to be vaccinated changes, Hamilton’s COVID-19 vaccine program will begin a careful and measured winding-down of large-scale mass vaccination clinics,” public health said in its release.

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Hamilton’s medical officer of health during a weekly update in June mentioned the wind-down and a move to another phase of the city’s vaccine initiatives which would involve a transition to smaller clinics, mobile pop-up clinics and opportunities with the more than 100 pharmacies offering shots.

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“As our vaccine program moves into a new phase our job is far from over,” Dr. Elizabeth Richardson said.

“With only six weeks to go until September and back to school, our vaccination efforts remain as crucial as ever.”

The primary care outlets at the David Braley Health Sciences Centre and Winterberry Family medicine will also be options.

The city says it will be reaching out via text message and e-mail to those who have a booking past the date of a clinic’s closure.

“Individuals who have appointments booked after a clinic closure date are being asked to reschedule their appointment or walk in to a local clinic offering walk-ins 28 days after their first dose to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible,” public health said in a statement.

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As of Tuesday, more than 696,000 doses of vaccines have been administered in Hamilton with 76 per cent of the population 18 and over having had at least a single dose, while about 61.5 per cent have been fully vaccinated.

Read more: Ontario experts call for updated COVID-19 screening, school attendance policies

Just over 75 per cent aged 12-plus have had one shot with 59.8 per cent having been fully vaccinated.

Hamilton’s emergency operation centre director says the closing of the sites is “a good news story” suggesting that the city is getting to where it needs to be in the last push to get vaccines out to the public but not the end of the work.

“If people feel this is a wrapping up of vaccinations because we reached targets, the answer to that is no,” Johnson told Global News.

“This is clearly about finding better ways to use the human resources, but also use our locational resources to get to where the need is most.”

The city moved into Step 3 of Ontario’s reopening plan on Friday and will remain in the designation for at least 21 days until 80 per cent of the eligible population aged 12 and over have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

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The Ford government’s expectation for the province by early August is an overall adult vaccination rate of 75 per cent with second doses, with no public health unit having less than 70 per cent of their eligible residents fully vaccinated.

Read more: Delta COVID-19 variant now behind more than 80% of new U.S. cases 

Over 64 per cent of people under 30 in Hamilton have had at least one shot of a vaccine, while close to 42 per cent have had a second dose as of July 20.

About 64 per cent of youth 12 to 17 have had at least one shot of a COVID-vaccine, according to public health data.

As of Monday, more than 18.4 million total COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Ontario.

More than eight million second doses have been administered in the province, which is more than 64 per cent of the adult (18-plus) population. First dose adult coverage stands at 80 per cent.

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