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HPPH releases COVID-19 vaccination plan overview

(Metro Creative image)

HURON-PERTH – On Thursday, Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH) released the Huron Perth COVID-19 vaccine implementation plan overview, based on the model of “bringing vaccines to people.”

“Huron-Perth is a large geographic area with small populations distributed throughout,” said Dr. Miriam Klassen, Huron Perth medical officer of health.

“We are committed to providing vaccinations equitably across Huron-Perth for everyone who wants to be vaccinated and want to remove as many barriers as possible. Given these factors, the model that made the most sense was to bring vaccines to people instead of people to vaccines.”

The Huron-Perth model will rely on the ‘Three Ms’:

  • Mass vaccination clinics.
  • Mobile clinics.
  • Multiple sites and partners.

HPPH says as vaccine supply increases and becomes more stable during Phases 2 and 3 of the three-phase provincial plan, mass vaccination clinics and smaller-scale community clinics will take place across Huron and Perth. Planning is underway to determine community clinic sites across both counties.

Mobile clinics will also be used where groups are experiencing significant barriers such as transportation.

Multiple sites across both counties will ensure geographic reach; HPPH is prepared to scale up vaccinations by activating more clinics and extending hours if supplies increase.

Tentative hub locations are Wingham, Clinton, Goderich, Exeter, Listowel, Stratford, St. Marys, Milverton, Mitchell and Seaforth. These locations also align with primary care partners who are prepared to provide support, says HPPH.

The goal of HPPH and partners is to vaccinate at least 75 per cent of the eligible population in Huron Perth as quickly and safely as possible. All vaccines will be administered following provincial guidance and the provincial ethical framework.

Eligible recipients in Huron Perth are currently those 16 years or older, without a medical contraindication (a condition or factor that serves as a reason to withhold certain medical treatment due to harm it would cause the patient), who want to receive the vaccine.

The HPPH plan builds on former Huron County Health Unit and Perth District Health Unit mass vaccination plans, leveraging existing community partnerships and vaccine program implementation expertise for effective and efficient vaccine roll-out.

“The Huron-Perth COVID vaccination model is possible because of enthusiastic and dedicated partners who have offered their resources to make mass vaccinations happen throughout Huron and Perth, reaching as many people as possible,” said Klassen.

HPPH and partners continue to collaborate through the Huron Perth Mass Vaccination Advisory Committee (HPMVAC). The HPMVAC has representatives from Huron Perth Public Health, the Huron Perth and Area Ontario Health Team (representing more than 60 organizations including, but not limited to Hospital, Paramedics, Primary Care, Community and Home Care, Mental Health and Addictions Services, Long-Term Care) as well as developmental services, municipalities and community pharmacy.

Current COVID vaccination status in Huron-Perth

Ontario is in Phase 1 of the province’s three-phase vaccination plan. Phase 1 focuses on four priority populations including long-term care; from Jan. 12 to Jan. 27, there were 1,459 first doses administered in Huron-Perth long-term care homes and high-risk retirement homes. This week HPPH continues to give second doses to residents of long-term care homes and high-risk retirement homes following current Ministry direction.

HPPH says staff, residents and essential caregivers of these facilities remain the priority population and the province will continue to provide direction on who receives the next doses of vaccine that arrive. HPPH also continues to work as a regional group with Middlesex London Health Unit, Southwestern Public Health and London Health Sciences Centre for regional vaccine distribution.

How to learn more

Vaccine supplies remain limited at the moment. Although planning is underway for Phases 2 and 3, there is no waiting list to receive the vaccine. Groups are prioritized based on the provincial distribution plan and ethical framework – as vaccines become available those groups will be contacted.

“The important thing to remember is that everyone who wants to be vaccinated will be vaccinated,” said Klassen.

“We will be sharing information regularly and widely on who can get vaccinated next, and how to get vaccinated, especially as vaccines become more widely available in the next few months through Phase 2 and Phase 3.”

Phase two of the provincial vaccine rollout is anticipated to begin in late spring. Phase three, when vaccine is widely available to anyone who wants to be immunized, is expected to begin in late summer. These timelines are dependent on vaccine availability.

During those phases, HPPH and partners will be sharing information widely on who is eligible to receive the vaccine and how to get it. This will include targeted outreach through organizations and facilities, as well as mass media, print, and social media.

To learn more about the Huron Perth COVID-19 vaccination plan, visit www.hpph.ca/vaccine.