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Region sees uptick in number of vaccines administered, with more sites available

Elmira District Community Living ran a vaccination clinic Wednesday from its Church Street location, with trained staff administering Moderna vaccination supplied by the region. [Damon MacLean]

An expanded availability of the AstraZeneca vaccine and wider eligibility have helped the Region of Waterloo step up its vaccination rates.

The region saw the total number of doses administered rise to almost 120,000, a 20-per-cent jump from a week earlier. That saw the percentage of the population that has received at least one dose rise to 17.7 from 14.2 at the same point last week.

“It has been a busy week with more opportunity for eligible Waterloo Region residents to get a vaccine. So just to highlight some of the openings that have occurred this week with the recent arrival of the AstraZeneca vaccine, select pharmacies in Waterloo Region and now nine primary care providers, with more to be announced in the near future began booking appointments for eligible residents aged 55 and older,” explained Shirley Hilton, head of the region’s vaccination task force.

Adults 50-plus who live in the identified high-priority neighbourhoods could begin to pre-register for the vaccine appointments can be made at any of the public clinics. And then residents who are 18-plus are eligible for our pop-up clinics that are targeted to the highest priority populations in the high-priority neighbourhoods.

High priority communities in the region have been identified as Vanier Rockway and Victoria Hills/Cherry Hill in Kitchener and Shades Mills in Cambridge. According to Hilton, ideal pop-up locations for the areas are being determined and are expected to open in mid- to late-April.

Also being moved up are some teachers and staff at the region’s schools.

“The Waterloo Catholic District School Board and the Waterloo Region District School Board staff providing direct personal support to students with special education needs became eligible to receive their initial vaccination,” said Hilton.

New region vaccination sites also opened to the public. The list includes the new Vision Family Health Team in Kitchener, which began last week to book appointments to administer vaccine to members of the public who are eligible. As of Tuesday, members of the public can get vaccinated at a satellite site in Ayr, located to the North Dumfries Community Health Centre.

“Anyone who has pre-registered for the vaccine through the Region of Waterloo booking system and who has been notified it’s their turn to book an appointment can already choose one of these new vaccination clinics, amongst other locations.”

In addition to the region-run locations, some more pharmacies in the area have been announced to administer Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for individuals 55 and older.  The new list released from the province includes 31 spots throughout the region. Locations in Woolwich Township include Elmira’s Shoppers Drug Mart and Breslau’s Pharmacy and Wellness Centre. No new sites have been announced for Wellesley Township.

The mobile wing of the distribution task force has also been at work, said Hilton.

“I want to also remind everyone that our mobile teams have been really busy. There’ll be finishing the homelessness, shelter and living rough population and the developmental services strategies and will begin attending and vaccinating homebound patients [this] week.”

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