Premier visits Cobourg for opening

300 volunteers and Rotarians stepping up to help

Article By Valerie MacDonald/above image supplied

Ontario Premier Doug Ford was in Cobourg  Monday afternoon at the Cobourg Community Centre to kick-off the opening of a mass immunization clinic beginning Tuesday, March 16 for those 80+ years old from across Northumberland County.

The province is hoping to meet the previously announced mid-June target of giving COVID-19 vaccinations to everyone wanting them, Ford said, adding that is  “depending on supply.” 

At this time, the province has received only 1.4-million doses per month and it needs 4.8-million to make that deadline, he stressed. (No vaccine is expected next week but a million doses are due to be received the following week and going forward the Premier said.)

Cobourg Community Centre on D’Arcy Street

Asked by the News Now Network if the interval between first and second vaccinations will be reduced from the four-month target (which replaces original recommendations of 21 and 28 days for Pfizer and Moderna vaccinations) if sufficient doses are received, Ford said if they come in quicker “then the answer is yes.”

All of the speakers talked about the community and professional co-operation that went into transforming the CCC and its ice rink into the mass vaccination clinic.

Alderville First Nation Chief Dave Mowat referred to the land acknowledgement that the clinics are to be held on Williams Treaties Clause 2 Indigenous lands and that while everyone is mindful of seeing to the needs of the people through the pandemic, they also need to be “mindful of Mother Earth when she gets sick, for then we all get sick.”

Northumberland Hills Hospital (NHH) Chief Executive Officer Linda Davis reported that 2,800 people who are 80+ in Northumberland have already registered for the vaccinations beginning Tuesday, March 16 and that another 2,000 health professionals and emergency personnel had received theirs at NHH since its clinic opened two weeks ago. The local community team has come together to enable the “roll out” of the mass vaccination clinic at CCC and to keep it going, she said.

Thanks were given to the community, 300 volunteers who stepped forward with the local Rotarians, as well as professionals and town staff to be able to open the mass clinic location. They came from the Premier, MPP David Piccini, Davis and Cobourg Mayor John Henderson.

The Premier said since the opening of the provincial booking system earlier on Monday, 45,000 had been booked and the website was processing 376 telephone calls per minute. But during the question-and-answer period, several media representatives pointed to criticism received about long waits and receiving a  “form tampered with” message that interfered with the process. Ford said he would look into this adding that it was expected there would be some “bumps in the round” but he was pleased the system hadn’t crashed as of the 1 p.m. media event on March 15.

“Sites like this exist because people from all walks of life have come together,” Northumberland/Peterborough South MPP David Piccini told the group gathered at the CCC.

Henderson called it “one of his proudest moments” as mayor and was pleased to welcome “some of our most vulnerable to our community centre” for the mass vaccination clinic.

Several times Premier Ford gave out the 1-888-999-6488 number to call for those 80 and over in age to register for a vaccination adding “under 80, your turn is on the horizon.”

He also referenced the online booking available at Ontario.ca/BookVaccine 

Only those in long-term care facilities are getting double doses at this time.

Editor’s Note: In our original post we speculated on who was in the photo. Now we know. They are  (L-R) Gord Ley, Dr. Ian Gemmill, David Piccini, Premier Doug Ford & Dr. Kate Everdell. 

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