Calgary’s COVID-19 mobile vaccination clinics are now in full swing across the city.
Wednesday was the first day that the entire fleet of four Sprinter vans and one coach bus were available to put the clamp on Covid-19.
The clinics began with a single van at the Peace Bridge two weeks ago. The fleet has been able to give more 270 Calgarians their dose of the vaccine.
“We recognize that every single person that receives a vaccination is a potential life saved,” said Assistant Chief Coby Duerr with the Calgary Emergency Management Agency.
“Not only that, but it reduces the pressure on our healthcare system and those doctors and nurses that are working so hard right now,” he said.
The clinics have been set up at 46 locations across the city so far. An additional 30 are planned in the next two days.
Pfizer and Moderna vaccinations have been offered to match what individuals have received for their first dose. The choice of either has been offered to people getting their first dose.
“They have the opportunity to choose the vaccination that aligns either to their previous vaccinations or choose the vaccination that they would like,” said Duerr.
No appointments are needed to use the clinics.
Third doses for seniors available at mobile clinics
The mobile vaccination clinics are also set up to offer third doses of vaccines. This was announced by the province during their Covid-19 update on Tuesday.
Premier Jason Kenney made the announcement that all Albertans 75 years of age or older who have received their last dose of the vaccine at least six months ago would be eligible for a third booster shot.
“We’re doing this because older Albertans remain uniquely at risk, and will benefit from more protection,” he said.
First Nations, Inuit, or Metis individuals are eligible at 65 years of age or older.
Going to where the people are
At the start of the program in September, CEMA Chief Sue Henry said that Calgarians could request the clinics to visit their communities by phoning 311.
In subsequent weeks, the city has received multiple requests for the clinics.
“We have received multiple calls to our 311 line asking for the mobile vaccinations to either attend their community events or to attend a place of business that has a lot of people that work at it,” said Duerr.
The 311 requests have been an important tool for the city to determine where people are wanting vaccinations.
“We want to make sure we understand where those people are gathering so that we can bring the vaccinations to them and make it easier for them to get vaccinated, and maybe their whole family to get vaccinated,” he said.
A complete list of locations for the vaccination clinics is on the Calgary Emergency Management Agency website.
Program to run for 30 days and then reviewed
The mobile clinic program was set to run for 30 days, with an additional 30-day extension if needed.
Outcomes from the program have been analyzed daily. The city will make a decision closer to the end of the first 30 days as to whether it will continue.
“And if we see a benefit for this moving a little bit longer than a month, we will definitely go down that road,” said Duerr.
The city is looking at metrics like acceptance by the community, whether people are using 311 to request the clinics to attend their events or businesses, and the numbers of vaccinations delivered.
Duerr said that Albertans aged 75 plus receiving booster shots is also a factor the city will consider.
“If we have the opportunity to support some of those additional people getting vaccinated, we’ll do so as well,” he said.
Calgary’s vaccination levels
Calgary had 69.8 per cent of its entire population fully vaccinated according to the province’s data as of Tuesday. The entire population percentage with at least a first dose was 76 per cent.
Calgary’s Lower North West, Upper North West, and Elbow regions were the top fully vaccinated regions of the city. Each was above 72 per cent for their entire populations.
Calgary’s southeast, east, and lower east were the lowest fully vaccinated regions in the city. All were below 68 per cent for their entire populations.