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Collingwood and area AstraZeneca supply will be given at drive-thru clinics

Appointment invitations went out by email to adults between 60 and 64, and within 24 hours, 1,600 people signed up - rollout of the 400 available doses starts this afternoon
Vaccine Clinic
A sign points the way to a drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine clinic set up by the Georgian Bay Family Health Team with support from Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

This afternoon, some residents from Collingwood, Wasaga Beach and the surrounding area will be getting their first dose of the newly approved AstraZeneca vaccine.

Georgian Bay Family Health Team is hosting a clinic at one of its drive-thru locations to deliver the 400 doses of vaccine to eligible adults between 60 and 64. 

The province announced on Wednesday (March 10) it would be sending some of its 194,500 doses of AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccines to primary care providers in six regions including Simcoe Muskoka. 

For Collingwood and surrounding area, the vaccine supply is going to be administered through the drive-thru clinics already set up by the Georgian Bay Family Health Team (GBFHT) and Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. 

“We decided this was the most effective and efficient way to do it,” said Marie LaRose, executive director of the family health team. 

Once the plan was made, the GBFHT used its electronic records to reach out to the eligible group (aged 60 to 64 years old) via email asking if they would like the vaccine. 

“In less than 24 hours, we had 1,600 people respond to our email,” said LaRose. “They’re all signed up, so as vaccine becomes available, we send out a message asking if they can come on such-and-such date and time.”

Area doctor’s offices reported an influx of calls from patients after the AstraZeneca announcement on Wednesday. 

LaRose said people who registered online were also calling. But she urged patience as the vaccine supply is still limited. 

“We’re still on tenterhooks waiting to know how many actual vaccine we get as well as how it can flow,” she said. “When we get more, we’ll continue to send more emails.” 

In the meantime, once you’ve signed up online or via email, you don’t need to call. If you cannot register online, you can call the GBFHT or your family doctor for help. 

Pfizer clinics are also continuing at the drive-thru locations at the Collingwood Legion and Wasaga Beach Rec Plex. The clinics are scheduled as vaccines are made available. 

“We’re literally on the edge,” said LaRose. She said yesterday at noon they didn’t know how many vaccine doses would arrive Friday for Sunday’s Pfizer clinic in Wasaga Beach. Next week’s clinics will be at the Collingwood location.

“We’re going to start registering people and hope we get enough, otherwise … we’ll be scrambling trying to rebook people,” she said. “We don’t want to wait. If we can get it … let’s get it in arms as fast as we can.” 

The drive-thru clinics in Collingwood and Wasaga Beach are the only places where vaccines against COVID-19 are being administered. Some individuals in priority groups who cannot use a drive-thru and have other health issues, are being vaccinated at the Community Health Centre in Wasaga Beach.

Vaccines are given by appointment only, and appointments for vaccines must be booked through the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit for now, with a provincial booking system beginning March 15. The exception is AstraZeneca appointments, which are for adults between 60 and 64 years old only and are booked online via email from the GBFHT. 

For information about the health unit’s vaccination roll out in Simcoe Muskoka and booking a vaccine, click here

For the AstraZeneca program, Collingwood and area residents will have received an email. If you did not sign up by email and cannot sign up by email, you can reach GBFHT at 705-444-5885.

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Erika Engel

About the Author: Erika Engel

Erika regularly covers all things news in Collingwood as a reporter and editor. She has 15 years of experience as a local journalist
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