COVID-19 vaccine clinics begin April 1 in Sioux Lookout
Tim Brody - Editor
The first Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) led COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Sioux Lookout is scheduled to take place on April 1 for eligible populations.
As of March 22, people aged 75 plus can use the new provincial booking system to schedule an appointment. The booking site is found at www.ontario.ca/bookvaccine.
NWHU shared that for those without internet access, an appointment can be booked by calling the provincial call centre at 1-833-943-3900.
“Although there were some technical issues early on, NWHU has worked with the Ministry and most issues have been resolved and wait times are currently low,” NWHU shared.
The following populations are also eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment now:
- Health care providers (if not vaccinated in their workplace)
- Indigenous adults, including Metis
- Adult home care recipients
Indigenous adults, including Metis in Sioux Lookout, can book an appointment with a NWHU-led clinic.
“To register for a NWHU-led clinic, the groups listed above must complete this survey (https://bit.ly/2OWlt0b) to register. If eligible, the Ministry then sends a code to use via email to book an appointment. This process can take a few days. Those who have already completed the survey and are awaiting a code from the Ministry should check their junk mail or spam folders as well as their settings as many emails are being flagged as spam,” NWHU shared.
“By early April, there will be a rotating schedule of community vaccine clinics offered in 13 communities in the NWHU’s catchment area. Clinics will be offered in 12 communities every two weeks, and in Kenora every week. All clinics will be open to specific priority groups consistent with the Province’s vaccine rollout plan and are by appointment only. NWHU will be offering evening and weekend clinic hours and will add additional clinics to the schedule based on local need, capacity and vaccine availability. Due to COVID-19 prevention measures, there will be no drop-in clinics,” NWHU explained.
NWHU is reminding members of the public that anyone who is pregnant, has an auto-immune disorder, is immunocompromised, or has had a severe allergic reaction to an mRNA vaccine or to any of its components, must talk to their health care provider before getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
“It is recommended that you consult with them as soon as possible to ensure that you will be ready to receive your vaccine when it is offered to you,” NWHU advised.
NWHU advises those who have appointments booked for their clinics to:
- Wear a short sleeved shirt so the upper-arm is easily accessible.
- Some locations may be cold, dress warmly if needed.
- Masks are required at clinics
- COVID-19 screening is done at the clinic upon entry. If you fail the screen, you will be asked to leave and must rebook.
- Before your immunization, you must speak to your health care provider if you are: pregnant, immunocompromised, have an autoimmune disorder or are allergic to mRNA vaccines or their components.
- Once immunized, the public is reminded that they must continue to follow all prevention measures like wearing a mask, physical distancing, staying home when ill, and hand hygiene
- The public are not allowed to take photos inside the clinic. This is communicated both verbally and by signage.
Last week, the Municipality of Sioux Lookout put out a notice to help the NWHU recruit volunteers to assist at the COVID vaccination clinics in Sioux Lookout, taking place April 1, April 3, April 13, April 14, April 30 and May 1 at the Recreation Centre gymnasium.
According to the Municipality, “The volunteers will be helping with “directing traffic”, wiping down seats after each vaccination and other such duties. The volunteers will not be providing the immunizations.”
The Municipality advised that, “Medical masks and face shields will be required to be worn by all volunteers, and physical distancing will be enforced for safety. You must be willing and able to wear all PPE and follow all safety protocols at the clinics.”
Anyone who is immunocompromised will not be eligible to volunteer at these vaccination clinics.
Anyone interested in volunteering can email Tiffany – [email protected] – with your name, phone number, email address, and availability.
As of March 22, NWHU was reporting 74 active COVID-19 cases in its catchment area: two in the Dryden Health Hub, one in the Fort Frances Health Hub, 34 in the Kenora Health Hub and 37 in the Sioux Lookout Health Hub.
NWHU defines the Sioux Lookout Health Hub as including: Sioux Lookout, Pickle Lake, Hudson, Bearskin Lake, Cat Lake, Deer Lake, Kee-Way-Win, Lac Seul, Neskantaga, MacDowell Lake, Muskrat Dam Lake, North Spirit Lake, Osnaburgh, Pikangikum, Poplar Hill, Sachigo Lake, Sandy Lake, Slate Falls and Weagamow Lake.
NWHU continues to recommend that everyone assume COVID-19 is in their community and practise preventive measures like physical distancing, wearing a mask in enclosed public spaces and when physical distancing is a challenge, good hand hygiene, and not touching their face.
“Anyone who has symptoms, or who has been in contact with a positive case, should self-isolate and get tested,” NWHU advised, adding, “For information about getting tested, please visit the NWHU website https://www.nwhu.on.ca/covid19/Pages/home.aspx for instructions on how to schedule an appointment at an assessment centre.