500 Ottawa residents receive COVID-19 vaccine at final Jabapalooza

Just after 3 p.m. Sunday, the last cow bell rang out signalling the end of a massive effort to get Ottawa residents vaccinated in the final Jabapalooza.

"It’s been pretty complicated to get the vaccine, so this has made all the difference in terms of access," said Mikayla Sherry, now fully vaccinated. 

Spearheaded by Ottawa family physician, Dr. Nili Kaplan-Myrth, the event dubbed Jabapalooza saw more than 500 residents getting a jab to the arm in the Glebe Sunday afternoon.

"We’ll have given 2,500 (doses) over the course of the spring (and) the summer," said Dr. Kaplan-Myrth.

"It's help Ontario and Ottawa get people fully vaccinated."

As of Friday, 82 per cent of Ottawa residents ages 12 and over have received one dose, while 60 per cent of people are fully vaccinated.

For Harry Wang, volunteering at Jabapalooza is something he won’t forget. A first-year medical student at the University of Ottawa, the pandemic has made his first year of education unique.

"It’s had its challenges. We haven’t had a chance to do much clinical stuff which makes stuff like this really more special," he said. 

 It’s the fifth and final Jabapalooza in Ottawa and as Dr. Kaplan-Myrth looked around the white tents filled with volunteers, musicians and residents waiting to be vaccinated, she credited the spirit of community that made the event a success. 

So far over $10,000 was raised from Jabapalooza t-shirt sales, with donations supporting local women’s shelters like Hope Cornerstone, Sakeenah Homes and Minwaashin Lodge.

"During the pandemic, women and children have increased the numbers of people who need to seek support and shelter," said Dr. Kaplan-Myrth. "That’s one of the things we could do at the same time as give the vaccines."

Meanwhile those who showed up for a vaccine were treated to live music by Chamberfest musicians as they waited for what was a bittersweet goodbye, in what Dr. Kaplan-Myrth hopes will be the beginning of the end.

"We'll keep giving vaccines in our offices," she said. "But I think we’ve met the need which is what we set out to do."

Happy tears, ringing out the final group of patients for #CovidVaccine at #Jabapalooza. Thanks to @vee_ouellete @kaplanmyrth @iamk804 and @wang_harry99 and @SJA_Ottawa and all the medical students and community volunteers. Thanks @Chamberfest @MetroGlebe @TekSavvyBuzz. Stay well! pic.twitter.com/Np2NsezOzU

— Nili Kaplan-Myrth MD PhD (@nilikm) July 18, 2021