Health unit releases COVID-19 vaccination playbook

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Includes possible locations for area, Island vaccination clinics

SUDBURY – Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD) has released a COVID-19 vaccination playbook in its service area, a roadmap to vaccinate area residents against COVID-19 and get to the end of the pandemic.

“When the vaccine arrives locally, we want to get it into the arms of eligible residents as rapidly as possible. This means that pre-planning is essential. We have been working with partners and waiting with great anticipation for this crucial work to begin,” said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, medical officer of health with PHSD. “The playbook is our roadmap to put the COVID-19 pandemic in our rear-view mirror. The task ahead of us is daunting, but it’s made possible by our collective ‘can-do’ attitude. So many have stepped up to offer help and planning groups are being set up across our catchment area.”

PHSD follows Ontario’s Vaccine Distribution Implementation Plan and the recent COVID-19 vaccination update, to implement the local vaccination program in three phases. 

Phase one (January to March) vaccines are currently scheduled to be offered to residents of congregate living for seniors like long-term care homes and high-risk retirement homes including staff and essential care givers; health care workers; adults (16+) First Nations, Métis and Inuit populations, and adult chronic home care recipients (16+).

Phase two (April to August) will include essential workers, adults aged 60 plus, staff and residents of additional congregate settings (for example shelters and group homes), at-risk populations and remaining adults, aged 16 to 59, will be able to get vaccinated.

Phase three (September and ongoing) will include all remaining eligible populations who wish to be vaccinated.

The local vaccination program will be implemented in close partnership with many others to ensure access to vaccines is based on sound ethical principles and that the program is run efficiently. Three main approaches are planned for the vaccination of residents in Chapleau, Greater Sudbury, Lacloche Foothills, Manitoulin Island and Sudbury East. These approaches include mobile vaccination that will occur in settings where specific populations congregate or live such as long-term care and retirement homes; mass vaccination clinics that will be scheduled at various community sites where eligible residents will attend to be immunized; and practice-based clinics in specific provider settings such as primary care offices and pharmacies. The approaches will be selected and adapted to match factors such as vaccine supply, eligible population, community resources and health provider capacity.

“I know the question that is top of mind for many of us is, ‘when will I get the vaccine?’” said Dr. Sutcliffe. “Answering that question is very difficult because although we have a playbook, executing it is dependent on vaccine supply from the province. So, our playbook maps out the time sequencing of vaccinations using various scenarios. It’s clear that we all still need a big dose of patience and ongoing commitment to COVID-19 prevention measures, but we are embarking on an epic journey.”

The overall objectives of the PHSD COVID-19 vaccination program are to: minimize societal disruptions, including infrastructure and economic impacts; implement sustained public education and community outreach efforts; maintain public confidence and achieve coverage rates of 75 percent of those eligible for vaccine by the provincially prescribed timelines.

Public health staff, community paramedicine, primary care providers, hospitals and pharmacies are all anticipated to be involved in vaccinating eligible residents in predetermined clinics and locations. The goal of the local vaccination program is to achieve a coverage level of at least 75 percent of eligible recipients in the service area, within the prescribed timeframe, and respecting provincial direction on vaccine recipient sequencing.

When the vaccines are available, the potential locations identified for mass vaccination clinics on Manitoulin include Big Lake Hall, Gore Bay Memorial Arena, M’Chigeeng Community Arena, Mindemoya Community Centre, Providence Bay Arena, Sandfield Hall, Spring Bay Community Centre and Wiikwemkoong Recreation Centre.