Ottawa family doctor administers 500 COVID-19 vaccine doses during Jabapalooza

500 people received their COVID-19 vaccine at Jabapalooza at Immaculata High School on Saturday. (Jackie Perez/CTV News Ottawa)

In the scorching heat and through the threat of rain, hundreds of Ottawa residents waited in line at Immaculata High School's soccer field to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

"It feels great getting my second dose,” said Marie, eager to travel to PEI in July.

It was the third Jabapalooza spearheaded by family physician, Dr. Nili Kaplan-Myrth. The Glebe doctor has been making a massive push to get shots in the arms of Ottawa residents.

"We’re immunizing 500 people today, Moderna as first doses and some seniors' second doses," she said.

Among those wrapping the track at Immaculata High School in Old Ottawa East was Katie Gibbs.

"I didn’t bring a hat, so this is now going to protect me from the sun," she said, referring to her umbrella. 

The 37-year-old said standing in the sweltering heat is a fair price to pay for protection from COVID-19.

"I’m having a hard time believing this time has actually come," Gibbs said. "Pretty much everyone I know is vaccinated."

It’s not just the public still struggling to get their hands on doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

"Family doctors across Ontario should have been given vaccines right from the start so we can reach out to our own patients and book our own patients," said Kaplan-Myrth. "So people who don’t have a family doctor could go to public health and pharmacies."

Dr. Kaplan-Myrth says she secured 500 doses of Moderna from Ottawa Public Health after AstraZeneca doses, the vaccines administered during the first two Jabapalooza events, were put on hold.  

As of Saturday, she says they’ll have administered 1,300 shots. Now, they need the province to come through with more for second doses that have been booked for as early as July.

"I don’t want to be begging for second doses to be sent to family medicines," Kaplan-Myrth said. "I’ve booked patients, I need the province to come through for family doctors."

With a Jabapalooza t-shirt, Gibbs is commemorating this moment, telling CTV News Ottawa it’s so much more than just a jab to the arm.

"As I told my son, it’s one step closer to doing things we used to do," said Gibbs.”