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Vaccine clinics strategically moving out of arenas

As numbers of vaccinated people in Haldimand and Norfolk Counties increase, the large-scale mass immunization clinics at arenas will be phased out in the next month.  The Delhi arena will host its last vaccination clinic on Friday, August 6, and the Cayuga arena will be demobilized later in August, with the goal of being handed back to Haldimand County by Labour Day.

“The expedited timelines of the vaccine rollout has allowed us to free up the arena locations for our communities to return to the activities they love”, Chief Sarah Page, COVID-19 Vaccine Lead for Haldimand and Norfolk Counties, commented.

“We continue to plan different clinic locations and vaccine strategies in order to meet the needs of all our residents. We look forward to the continued work with all our collaborative partnerships with community health providers, emergency services, and our teams, across Haldimand and Norfolk to keep providing access to vaccination.”

The Haldimand Norfolk Health Unit COVID-19 Vaccination team is planning multiple community-based clinics, both set dates and pop-ups, in smaller venues, to ensure that all residents have the opportunity to get their first and second doses.

Norfolk General Hospital vaccine clinic also continues to operate, with reduced hours weekly, and now will accommodate walk-ins (no appointment needed) between 10am and 2pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

With respect to the movement away from the “Hockey Hub” model of large-scale mass immunization clinics, the goal is to model this on a smaller scale for continuing COVID-19 vaccination clinics, the upcoming school vaccination program, and the influenza vaccination program. The model has proven to be a safe way to deliver vaccine in an efficient manner across all age groups.

The planned move out of the arenas has received an enthusiastic and optimistic response from the community and sport associations, anxious to return to recreational activities in the fall.

Norfolk’s Ward 3 Councilor Michael Columbus was thrilled to hear the news that Delhi Arena would be open for the upcoming recreation season. “Our hockey teams, skaters and recreational groups, both young and old, are looking forward to being back in the rink. We are very happy that the vaccine rollout has progressed quickly and effectively to keep our community safe, and now allows everyone to get back to their favourite activities too.”

Haldimand Mayor Ken Hewitt championed the decision to move the Cayuga Memorial Arena mass immunization clinic to different locations to allow for more recreational opportunities in the community. “We have worked hard to combat this pandemic on all sides with precautionary measures, community supports, and a successful vaccination program. Our community has stepped up and come together to make it happen, so it’s nice to give them something back in return. We foresee the Cayuga ice being ready to go in September for all our teams and residents.”

At present, over 120,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered across both counties, with almost 65% of residents fully vaccinated.  The Ministry of Health is aiming for all communities across the province to have 80% of the population with first dose, and over 75% of the population fully vaccinated by early August.

All residents with a second dose appointment booked for August, September or October who are 28 days past their first dose are being asked to book an appointment at a closer date. Appointments are available in various locations and may be booked using the HNHU’s Online Booking Tool or by calling the Health Unit’s Vaccine Hotline at 519-427-5903.