The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit is expecting to vaccinate more than 1,700 residents in the region when vaccination centres begin vaccinating individuals 80 and over on Monday.
“Next week we expect to immunize 5,700 people,” estimated Andrea McLellan, Director COVID-19 Immunization Strategy with the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit.
McLellan estimates about 900 individuals in North Bay will get their first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Memorial Gardens, with another 300 in Mattawa, and 500 in Parry Sound.
She says 400 to 500 seniors will get their first shot on Tuesday in the Sundridge area and West Nipissing will begin its vaccinations later in the week.
But McLellan could not guarantee this current rollout pace will continue into April.
That will all depend on vaccine availability.
“We know with the allocation we have been provided as the tentative allocation for the week after next, we have sufficient vaccines to accommodate the clinics that have been booked. Our clinics are booked based on the amount of vaccine we are anticipating receiving so that we have sufficient supply,” she said.
Dr. Jim Chirico, the region’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, says they are working with the government to get more vaccines.
“We are working with them to get it as quickly as possible,” added Dr. Chirico.
“We obviously know there have been shortages and we are playing catch up but we are working with minister Fedeli and our MPPs. We have met with the Solicitor General to advocate to get more vaccines.
“It may seem that southern Ontario is ahead of us because they are, and we are advocating to get as much vaccine and as soon as possible. We do know more vaccine is coming in more predictable amounts and we look forward to that happening.”
The Health Unit still has no timetable yet on when pharmacies and doctor’s clinics will be able to administer vaccines.
“There are pilot projects occurring with pharmacies and primary care in southern Ontario. I would anticipate it will not be too long before they expand beyond that pilot. It depends on the results of that pilot, and involving more physician offices and pharmacies in the rollout and distribution of vaccine.
She believes physician offices will be an ideal spot to be able to identify patients who have chronic medical conditions and would be eligible in phase two of the vaccine rollout.
“That would be very helpful,” said McLellan.