Coun. Riley Brockington offers to drive constituents to get first vaccine dose

River Ward Coun. Riley Brockington at Ottawa City Hall in Oct. 2020. (FILE/CTV News Ottawa)

River ward Coun. Riley Brockington is hoping to drive the number of COVID-19 vaccinations even higher in Ottawa.

Brockington tweeted an offer to personally drive any constituents of River Ward who had not received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to and from their appointments.

River Ward COVID vaccines

Any River Ward resident who has been reluctant to get their first COVID dose, is welcome to contact my office and make arrangements for me to pick you up at your home, take you to your appointment and return you home.

My office: 613-580-2486

— Riley Brockington (@RiverWardRiley) July 19, 2021

"Any River Ward resident who has been reluctant to get their first COVID dose, is welcome to contact my office and make arrangements for me to pick you up at your home, take you to your appointment and return you home," he tweeted.

His office number is 613-580-2486.

Brockington regularly tweets COVID-19 vaccination statistics on his account and has been monitoring them closely.

"I've seen the 18 to 39 cohort lagging," he told CTVNewsOttawa.ca "It's still good, in the low 70s, but when I'm out in River Ward, I ask people if they've been vaccinated and a lot of younger folks aren't."

Health officials in Ottawa have been concerned at the apparent reluctance of people 18 to 39 to be vaccinated. As of Monday, 71 per cent of residents 18 to 29 and 72 per cent of residents 30 to 39 had had their first shots, the lowest coverage rates of any age groups in the city.

Approximately 294,000 residents of Ottawa have yet to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, about 130,000 of which are under the age of 12 and are ineligible for any approved vaccines.

Anyone who still needs a first dose can walk in to select community clinics, announced each day, and get one without an appointment. Drop-in availability is based on supply. The city releases locations on its social media channels. On Monday, for instance, more than 3,000 doses were available for drop-ins at clinics around the city, about half of them were at the uOttawa Minto Sports Complex.

Appointments can also be booked through Ontario's COVID-19 vaccination portal or by calling 1-833-943-3900 (Monday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.)

Brockington says one of the factors he's heard from constituents that keeps them from being vaccinated is mobility.

"A lot of people don't have cars and even though these community clinics and pop-up clinics are up and running, getting to them can be difficult," he said. "I've got some time over the summer, so if getting to a clinic is an issue or if someone just wants to talk about the vaccine, I'm willing to do my part to help get them their vaccine. If all it takes is someone picking them up at their front door, driving them to the clinic and driving them home, I'll do it."

So far, he says there's been some traction on his tweet, including someone asking if they can stop for ice cream, but he's unsure how busy this endeavor will ultimately be.

"Mobility issues are real and getting to the clinics can be an issue," he said. "A lot of younger folks say they're working lots and can only go in the evening. I don't care where, I just want to get folks vaccinated, not just for themselves, but for their families, their community, and keeping schools and businesses open.

"That's why we do this. It's for the greater good."