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COVID-19: MLHU to offer ‘Doses Till Dark’ along London’s Richmond Row this weekend

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Ontario’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Kieran Moore said on Tuesday that the province would pause its COVID-19 reopening plan as it fights to increase vaccination rates as it enters a fourth wave propelled by the Delta variant – Aug 17, 2021

It’s a different kind of shot than Richmond Row patrons may be used to.

The Middlesex-London Health Unit says it will be handing out first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the city’s nightlife district on Friday and Saturday as part of a pop-up initiative dubbed “Doses Till Dark.”

The pop-up clinic will run from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on both days in the parking lot directly across from Jack’s, located at the corner of Richmond and Angel streets.

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“This is a focus to try and bring vaccine to some of the age cohorts we know are a little bit slower on the uptake when it comes to vaccine,” said Dr. Alex Summers, the region’s associate medical officer of health, said in an interview Wednesday.

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“So those between 18 to 40, specifically the 18- to 25-year-old crowd for that Richmond Row area, to try and make sure that that vaccine is readily available for them.”

According to health unit data, 77.9 per cent of people 18 to 24 have gotten a first dose, along with 74.4 per cent of people 25 to 29 and 70.2 per cent of people 30 to 34. For second doses, the percentages stand at 62.7, 60.8 and 58.5 per cent, respectively.

It’s not entirely clear why vaccine uptake has been so slow for people in their early 30s. Overall, 82 per cent of London-Middlesex residents over 12 have gotten at least one dose, while 72.6 have had their second as well.

The number of vaccines being administered in the region has dropped off as more have received their first and second doses. Roughly 15,400 doses were administered last week, compared to roughly 21,700 two weeks earlier.

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The push to get vaccines into younger arms comes as the health unit has observed COVID-19 outbreaks involving people in the 18-to-24 group, Summers said.

It was just on Wednesday that the health unit declared an outbreak at a nightclub on Carling Street involving five people who were either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated. The number impacted has since risen to at least eight, all primary cases.

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The outbreak at Lost Love Social House was the second outbreak to be declared involving a downtown bar within a matter of days.

On Sunday, the health unit declared an outbreak after 15 patrons of Delilah’s tested positive for COVID-19. The total number of people impacted by the outbreak has since risen to at least 26, including 22 primary and four secondary cases.

The two businesses were also connected to COVID-19 outbreaks last year — Lost Love in September and Delilah’s in November.

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“When you have the mixing of people who are vaccinated and unvaccinated, because the Delta strain is so infectious, you’ll see outbreaks and you’ll see cases even amongst those vaccinated people,” Summers said.

“We want to make sure we’re there offering that vaccine, and we’ll be there Friday and Saturday night.”

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Summers said those looking to get the vaccine at the Richmond Row pop-up clinic will only need to show some identification.

“If you’re having to go downtown, you’re going to have to show some ID to get into any of those bars. That same ID will do the trick for you to get the vaccine and that’s it,” he said.

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The health unit says it plans to hold Doses Till Dark clinics outside the Covent Garden Market on Aug. 27 and 28, and again in the parking lot at Richmond and Angel streets on Sept. 3, 4, 10 and 18.

Many other pop-up clinics are scheduled to take place around the city over the next month, including one this Sunday that is being done in partnership with Pride London.

“We will … be partnering with Pride London at the Palasad to work with LGBT2Q+ individuals in order to ensure a safe and supportive environment to receive the vaccine in a safe and supportive way,” Summers said during Thursday’s media briefing.

The walk-in pop-up clinic will be held at Palasad Social Club at 777 Adelaide St. N, from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. and is intended for members of the LGBTQ2 community, the health unit says. First and second doses will be available.

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