Health Unit to focus on mobile and pop-up clinics

After months of operating large mass immunization clinic sites in Cobourg, Minden, Fenelon Falls and Campbellford, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is shifting its COVID-19 vaccination efforts in the coming weeks. As of Friday, September 3, the mass immunization clinics at these four sites will close.

Instead, the Health Unit will offer more mobile and pop-up clinics in parts of its region where COVID-19 vaccination rates are lower and accessing clinics may be a challenge.

“Instead of people coming to us for a vaccine at fixed clinic sites, we want to increase vaccine uptake and access by taking the vaccine into the community through mobile and pop-up clinics,” says Dr. Natalie Bocking, Medical Officer of Health with the HKPR District Health Unit. “Our mass immunization clinics have successfully served their purpose, providing thousands of first and second doses to local residents. But now we need to direct our resources in a smarter, more targeted approach to reach those individuals who have still not received a vaccine or found it difficult to access one.”

Between now and Sept. 3, walk-ins and appointments will continue to be offered at the Health Unit’s clinic sites in Cobourg, Campbellford, Minden and Fenelon Falls. Both mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) are available at these clinics. A complete list of dates, time and locations for these clinics is available at www.hkpr.on.ca.

Many pharmacies in the Health Unit region also continue to offer COVID-19 vaccines, as well as health care providers in the region.

“There’s still time to move the needle, so if you haven’t yet received your first or second dose of COVID-19 vaccine, now is the time to come out and get one at one of our mass immunization clinics,” Dr. Bocking adds.

Currently, there is a recommended 28-day interval between a first and second dose of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. If local residents will now just be getting their first dose of vaccine in mid-to-late August, Dr. Bocking assures they will have an opportunity to get their second dose through the Health Unit, local pharmacy or primary care provider.

The Health Unit’s most recent statistics (as of August 9) show nearly 80% of residents ages 12 years and older in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose. A little over 71% of local residents age 12+ have received both doses.

In the last week or so, the number of people attending the Health Unit’s mass immunization clinic sites in Cobourg, Campbellford, Fenelon Falls and Minden has been noticeably lower. This is no surprise given the high COVID-19 vaccination rates, Dr. Bocking says, so it makes sense to redeploy Health Unit staff and resources to mobile clinics and other pandemic response work where they can be better used.

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