After closing the city’s mass vaccination clinics Saturday, Ottawa Public Health opened the first of a series of roving clinics designed to administer vaccinations against H1N1 in various locations across the city Monday.

 

While the city saw a decline in the demand for the mass immunization setting over the last week or so, it also saw “a spike in demand” for the vaccine in the days leading up to the close of the clinics, said Ottawa’s associate medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches.

 

“With the announcement that the clinics were closing, maybe they thought it was their last chance,” Etches said. “But now we’re focusing on other routes. There are opportunities for them to be immunized through roving clinics.”

 

Since the first clinic opened to priority groups on Oct. 26, the city has vaccinated about 425,000 people, amounting to about 50 per cent of the population, Etches said. And as the days go on, Ottawa Public Health is hoping that people will get their vaccines at a roving clinic or through their physicians or workplaces, bringing the total number of vaccinated people even higher.


“We’re continuing to recommend the vaccine for those who haven’t gotten it yet,” said Etches.


The roving clinics will give people the opportunity to get their vaccines in a different – and possibly more convenient – setting.


The more people that are vaccinated, the more the city will be able to slow the spread of the virus, added Etches.


The second wave of the illness is over, but it’s impossible to predict what will happen, as flu season lasts until April.


“We would expect that the virus will continue to circulate in the community,” she said.


Roving clinics, which will administer both the H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines, are held at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School, the Kanata Recreation Complex, city hall and the Dempsey


Recreation Centre from 2:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. A full schedule of clinics is on the city’s website.


Wristbands may be re-employed at those clinics experiencing high volumes to minimize wait times.