The Northern Health Authority is open to suggestions as to how to increase the number of vaccinations in the area. Here’s pop up clinic at the farmers market. (Angelique Houlihan photo)

The Northern Health Authority is open to suggestions as to how to increase the number of vaccinations in the area. Here’s pop up clinic at the farmers market. (Angelique Houlihan photo)

Northern Health open to ways to boost COVID vaccination rate

Rate is below the provincial average

Vaccination clinics continue in Houston in an effort to boost the rate of first and second dose recipients.

But the Northern Health Authority says it is open to any and all ideas as to how to increase the number of people getting their jabs.

“Our ongoing efforts are to increase the immunization rates for all eligible groups, including the 12-17 age range that most recently became eligible,” said Eryn Collins from Northern Health.

“We’re working hard to increase opportunities for various groups to be vaccinated, including youth clinics that focus on the younger population, our ongoing mass clinics in various communities, and pop up or drive thru settings to further improve accessibility and convenience.”

“As Dr. Henry mentioned – we’re also open to community ideas for vaccine clinic options. People are welcome to email those ideas to covid-19@northernhealth.ca,” Collins said.

While the rate for adults 50 and up, as of last week, for first doses was 76 per cent in the area, there’s a drop of 10 percentage points for adults 18 and up to 65 per cent for first doses and a further dip to 62 per cent for first does for the 12 and up age range.

These rates preceded a two-hour walk-in clinic June 23 and clinics June 23, 24 and today for folks with appointments. Walk-ins also feature in the latter three clinics but availability may be limited.

As of last week, the provincial average of all adults receiving a first dose stood at 77.7 per cent while it was 76.2 per cent of those 12 and up.

Northern Health did hold an after-school clinic at the Houston Secondary School so as to make vaccinations available to students age 12 and up.

“We had a few staff go and they thought it was “lightly” attended,” said School District 54 superintendent Michael McDiarmid.

He said the school did receive a few complaints from people who did not like the idea of the school district promoting vaccinations for young people.

“The reality is we forwarded on information from the Ministry of Health at their request to parents.” McDiarmid said of the clinic.

Northern Health in Houston has staged pop up clinics at the farmers market and nurses, one day, even toured local parks, encountering people in hopes of providing vaccinations.

Following today’s clinic, Northern Health has set July 6-10 and July 12-15 as its next regularly scheduled dates for vaccinations. Times are 9 a.m. to noon and 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. The emphasis will be on those who have made appointments. Those without appointments those days can drop by but availability might be limited.

June 28 and June 29 were clinic days in Granisle for those 12 and older who had booked appointments. As of last week, the Northern Health vaccination clinic web page did not have any information about future clinic dates.