Ottawa's COVID-19 mass vaccination sites ready to open within 72 hours

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The head of Ottawa's COVID-19 vaccination task force says the city can ramp up vaccination efforts within three days if more COVID-19 vaccines flood into the city this spring.

Ottawa Public Health and the city will begin vaccinating adults 80 and older in six high-risk neighbourhoods on March 5.

On Wednesday, the Ontario government unveiled a timeline for when residents can begin booking appointments in Ontario.

  • 80+ - March 15
  • 75+ - April 15
  • 70+ - May 1
  • 65+ - June 1
  • 60+ - July 1

Speaking on CTV Morning Live Thursday morning, Ottawa's general manager of emergency services Anthony Di Monte said the city is ready to vaccinate more people, if more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine arrive in Ottawa.

"I think we're certainly ready and that's our main objective. We've already got our seven mass vaccination clinics that are ready to stand up within 72 hours," said Di Monte.

"Basically, it's just we've got to call that staff to get them into work – so that's already on the plan. In spite of that, we're still just hammering away at the different priority groups, we've been doing, critical health care workers and yesterday we announced we're going to quickly pivot and do 80 year-olds and older."

The city will operate seven community clinics across Ottawa for people to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

The planned clinic locations are:

  • Ruddy Family YMCA-YWCA, 265 Centrum Blvd.
  • St. Laurent Complex, 525 Coté St.
  • Horticulture Building, Lansdowne Park, 1525 Princess Patricia Way
  • Canterbury Recreation Complex, 2185 Arch St.
  • Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Ave. W
  • Nepean Sportsplex, 1701 Woodroffe Ave.
  • Eva James Memorial Community Centre, 65 Stonehaven Dr. 

There will also be clinics set up at the Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus and the Queensway Carleton Hospital.

Di Monte says the city has planned for when the vaccines do arrive.

"If we do get the vaccine quickly enough, we'll be able to get to those priority groups quicker.  Right now, just the example, in Ottawa we're going to be starting the 80 year-olds on March 5, we've already organized that," said Di Monte.

"A GAME CHANGER"

Last week, Canada's deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo said there is evidence that a single dose of COVID-19 vaccines may provide almost as much protection as giving two doses. Experts are now studying the issue. 

Di Monte tells CTV Morning Live that one dose instead of two would be a "game changer," but right now the city will continue to stick with the directions of giving two doses of the Pfizer and Moderna doses.

"The scientific groups and the committees are looking that at the federal level and the provincial level, and Dr. (Vera) Etches and her colleagues as well. That could be a big game changer obviously, because we give our first dose we have to ensure, because of the limited supply, so that people can get their second dose," said Di Monte.

"That's currently our model, that's what we're doing. Based on what we're hearing, maybe we do get some direction from those scientific communities and that may change, but for right now we're sticking with the two dose requirement that is the standard."

Di Monte said any change in the vaccination campaign would come from the Ontario and federal governments.