Coronavirus Canada Updates: City says 200,000 vaccine appointments booked in Ottawa this month

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Coronavirus: Ontario reports no new COVID-linked deaths
Coronavirus: Ontario reports no new COVID-linked deaths

The head of the City of Ottawa’s COVID-19 vaccination task force says 200,000 COVID-19 vaccination appointments have been booked in community clinics Ottawa between June 1 and July 6.

Speaking to reporters following Wednesday’s city council meeting, Anthony Di Monte, general manager of emergency and protective services, said Ottawa is all but booked solid this month in the provincial booking system.

“Every single dose of vaccine that we have available, we put on the system. We currently have over 200,000 appointments booked from now until July 6,” Di Monte said. “That’s vaccine that’ll be put in arms of older individuals but also all the other groups that are on the system.”

Di Monte also said that “a good majority” of those 200,000 doses are second doses, meaning many more people in Ottawa will soon be fully immunized.

Data from Ottawa Public Health shows 79,689 Ottawa residents have had both doses of COVID-19 vaccine, an increase of more than 9,000 people since Monday.

“You’ll start seeing the second doses increase,” he said. “We’re starting to shift in the community; however, there are still a lot of first doses that need to be done.”

As of Wednesday, OPH reported that 615,182 residents 12 and older had had at least one dose, amounting to 58 per cent of the total population of Ottawa, and 70 per cent of adult 18 and older.

Di Monte also said that city staff called 17,000 seniors who were at risk of missing their second dose and secured appointments for them or ensured they already had them. A previous memo from Di Monte said many seniors were able to book second appointments on their own before they were contacted by the city.

Earlier this week Mayor Jim Watson wrote to Premier Doug Ford asking for an emergency allocation of another 40,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, arguing that it’s unfair to lower the age eligibility for accelerated second doses without providing the city with enough vaccines to meet the demand. Watson told reporters Wednesday he had yet to receive a reply, noting that Ford was in London, Ont. Tuesday for a vigil for the victims of the truck attack.

“They have certainly heard very clearly from me and other MPPs of our concern that if they’re going to lower us down another notch in age, they’ve got to give us a corresponding increase in doses. It’s simple mathematics,” Watson said. “We’re not asking for more than our fair share, we’re just asking for our fair share.”

Ottawa Public Health reported on Wednesday that the city received another 53,820 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and another 5,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine this week.

The next scheduled change in eligibility for accelerated second doses, according to the Ontario government, is the week of July 19, which will open up earlier second doses to people who received a first dose on or before May 9.

When it comes to AstraZeneca, Di Monte said people who received their first dose of that vaccine at a pharmacy to contact the same pharmacy for a second dose. Most of Ontario’s stock of AstraZeneca vaccines have been sent to Kingston, Toronto and Windor to finish immunizing people who took part in the pharmacy pilot project.

“I can tell you that the province has indicated that they’re flowing more vaccine to the pharmacies in general over the next few weeks, so I think that will give that opportunity to people,” Di Monte said.

CEO of the Ontario Pharmacists’ Association Justin Bates told CTV News on Sunday he expects to see doses of AstraZeneca shipped to Ottawa pharmacies starting the week of June 21.

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