BARRIE, ON – With the help of firefighters and city officials, healthcare workers attempted to administer 100 doses in Wasaga Beach.
The traveling pop-up clinic aimed at immunizing the city’s most vulnerable populations visited 13 sites offering Pfizer vaccines to anyone who is eligible.
For Wasaga Beach residents like Sandra MacDonald, a chance to get a shot just steps from her front door is something she’s been waiting for months. MacDonald received his first dose on Wednesday.
âI have pushed back, but I want to be safe for my son and my daughter-in-law; they live in Brampton, and they’re coming soon, âsaid MacDonald, who was among a dozen people in the community to receive an injection.
The clinic, run by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit and South Georgian Bay Community Health Center, targeted low-income areas of the city and residents facing difficulties getting vaccinated elsewhere, including mass vaccination centers and clinics.
âIt’s incredibly convenient,â said Ron West, a Wasaga Beach resident. âGo down the stairs, take my chance. Instead of going to Midland next week, âhe said.
According to Scott McLeod, the clinic offered a lifeline that was not otherwise available to those struggling to find transportation or employment.
âA lot of places now, if you’re looking for work, they also ask you to have at least one shot, so that’s wonderful,â McLeod said.
The clinic, which is the third such outreach effort, has offered easier access to injections in communities where the risk of infection is highest. Yet many residents continue to face employment challenges, substance abuse issues, and food and housing insecurity.
âAccess to the vaccine is very important for people who live with barriers in their lives, so come and see them where they are to increase their immunization rates,â said organizer Heather Klein Gibbinck, executive director of the Southern Georgian Bay community. Health center.
A friendly knock on the Wasaga Beach fire department door offered vulnerable residents protection from the virus. Deputy Fire Chief Craig Williams said his team has built relationships with communities that are often overlooked and therefore left in difficult positions.
âTarget marginalized people as well as people who live in collective living environments. And we know from experience during our last outreach program that some of these people don’t have the option of going to typical vaccination centers, âsaid Williams.
Although not all residents accepted the offer, John Novak viewed it as a bargain.
âPeople ended up in my parking lot, and I thought it was a sign from God so I went with it and here I am and now I’m doubly vaccinated.â
Health officials continue to encourage those who have not yet received the first and second dose to contact the South Georgian Bay health unit or community health center to ensure a full vaccination by September.