This week’s article is the fourth in a series intended to provide timely and relevant information to Niagara-on-the-Lake residents about the status of vaccinations in NOTL and throughout the Niagara region.
These updates are also published on the town’s website (notl.com/COVID-19). Niagara Region Public Health continues to lead the vaccination planning and distribution process.
Posters providing updated information regarding COVID-19 vaccinations are posted in the local post offices and other frequently visited locations throughout the community.
For those of you who have already had your vaccination, or have an appointment to receive one, congratulations! Each jab is one more small step to a return to a safer community. As of Sunday, April 11, the Niagara region website reports that nearly 110,000 vaccine doses have been administered to Niagara region residents, resulting in over 20 per cent of residents in receipt of their first dose. In order to reach an optimal level of protection in our community, it is vital for everyone to get their COVID-19 vaccination as soon as it is available to you.
For those NOTL residents who have not yet received a vaccine or have an appointment, the following information may be helpful to you:
• As of Wednesday, April 7, all residents 60 years of age and older (born in 1961 or earlier) are able to book their vaccination appointment through the provincial appointment booking system, available online at Ontario.ca/bookvaccine or over the phone at 1-888-999-6488.
• Residents 55 years of age and older are now able to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, at selected pharmacy locations in Ontario. In Niagara-on-the-Lake, participating pharmacies are Simpson’s Pharmacy and Simpson’s Apothecary. A list of participating pharmacies in Ontario with booking information is available here:
https://covid-19.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations. To register at either of the Simpsons Pharmacy locations, visit their website at https://simpsonspharmacy.ca/pages/covid-19-vaccination.
• Eligible residents are able to book an appointment at any vaccination centre in the Niagara region and can bring an essential caregiver with them to their appointment. However, it’s important to note that essential caregivers who are not eligible for vaccination (in the appropriate age category) may not be able to receive a vaccination.
• A vaccination stand-by list has been added to the Niagara region website at niagararegion.ca/health/covid-19/vaccination/clinic-schedule.
To be on the standby list, residents must be 65 years of age or older (born in 1956 or earlier) and able to get to a vaccine clinic within 30 minutes of a phone call. There is an online form for entry of your name, date of birth and phone number. The standby list is not a booking tool, and appointments will only be offered if there are unused doses available at the end of a clinic day.
• Transportation to any of the vaccine clinics throughout the Region can be arranged through one of two resources:
• The regional On-Demand Transit Program, free with proof of appointment. Connections can be made to regional transit at the Outlet Mall if it is necessary to travel to a vaccine clinic in St. Catharines or Niagara Falls. To book a ride with On-Demand Transit, call 289-302-2172 or download the NRT OnDemandTransit App.
• Community Support Service Niagara – Transportation is provided by this service to and from any vaccine clinic in the region for a nominal fee of $10. To request this transportation, call 905-682-3800 x 709.
The three vaccine clinics on March 31, April 1 and April 9 at the NOTL community centre were successfully completed. Additional vaccination clinic dates for NOTL are anticipated shortly. Additional dates throughout the region have been added by Niagara Region Public Health. Residents should check the online appointment system or call the information line frequently to determine appointment availability.
Niagara Region Public Health remains committed to ensuring every resident has an opportunity to receive the vaccine in Niagara. The region and the town realize that many people have had problems with booking an appointment for a vaccine and, at times, the process has been less than ideal. Everyone is doing the best they can in this unprecedented effort. It is the intention that every NOTL resident who wishes to receive a COVID-19 vaccination will get one. Please remain calm and patient — no one will be left behind!
If you are aware of an eligible NOTL resident who may require help in booking their appointment, please reach out to them to offer your assistance. Alternatively, residents can call a representative from the Community Wellness Committee at 905-246-3091 for assistance. Volunteers are available to help residents book their vaccination appointment or answer any questions about the booking process.
A frequently asked questions page has been published on the town’s website (notl.com/faq/vaccineclinic). Residents who do not have access to a computer or are not comfortable navigating websites are invited to call 905-468-4386 ext. 3 to hear a recorded message.
Beginning April 9, frontline educators and others working in schools and childcare centres, who are unable to work from home, were able to book a vaccine appointment. These groups will receive detailed booking instructions from their employer. For further details, please visit niagararegion.ca/health/covid-19/vaccination/appointment-booking
What we can do now:
Continue to follow public health measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
• Stay home – Ontario is currently under a stay-at-home order – travel is only allowed for essential services.
• Practise physical distancing – Maintain two metres from anyone who is not from your household.
• Practise frequent hand-
• Wear a mask or face covering in indoor spaces and when two metres physical distancing isn’t possible.
• Take a self-assessment if you are feeling unwell at https://covid-19.ontario.ca/self-assessment/
• Stay up to date. Visit covid19.ontario.ca for the most up-to-date information from the provincial government, niagararegion.ca for information from the Niagara region, and notl.com/COVID-19 for information regarding impacts to Niagara-on-the-Lake.