The A.J. LaRue Arena is the site for the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit [HKPRDHU] vaccination clinic. /DARREN LUM Staff

Haliburton’s mass vaccine clinic to close rather than relocate

By Sue Tiffin 
Staff reporter 

The following are brief reports from a Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge district health unit press conference with medical officer of health Dr. Natalie Bocking, held virtually May 12, and a press release from the health unit sent May 12.

According to a press release from the HKPRDHU titled “Influx of Vaccine Opens More Opportunities for Local Vaccination Appointments,” the mass vaccination clinic at Haliburton’s A.J. LaRue community centre will close later in May. 

“The number of people seeing appointments at this location has typically been low,” reads the press release. “With the addition of primary care providers and local pharmacies now offering vaccinations to residents, the health unit will continue with just the one mass immunization clinic at the Minden location.”

As of May 14, 5,023 people had received at least one dose of vaccine at the Minden clinic, while 3,793 people had received at least one dose of vaccine at the Dysart clinic. 

As previously reported in the Echo, the A.J. LaRue arena was – on March 18 – the last of six mass vaccine clinics to be announced in the HKPRD health unit region. According to the health unit, approximately 500 people per site per clinic day are being vaccinated. 

Community volunteers work on completing a structure for the individual pods where vaccine recipients will wait during the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPRDHU) vaccination clinic using the “hockey hub” concept on Wednesday, April 7 at the A.J. LaRue Arena in Haliburton. /DARREN LUM Staff

On March 19, Dysart et al announced that instead of being used as a vaccination site from April 5 to September as initially arranged, the clinic would be cut short on June 12, continuing at an as-yet-unknown location, so that the arena could be used for recreation purposes throughout the summer instead.

The site’s availability as a spot for mass immunization was reduced largely to ensure summer ice is available in the community for user groups and to meet the township’s contract with the Haliburton Hockey Haven.

A mass vaccination clinic opened March 16 in Cobourg, March 18 in Lindsay, and April 5 in Fenelon Falls and Campbellford. Minden’s vaccine clinic opened on April 5 and Dysart’s opened April 12.

Community volunteers gather and listen to instructions about how the vaccination clinic, which is being run by the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit [HKPRDHU], will operate, using the “hockey hub” concept on Friday, April 9 at the A.J. LaRue Arena in Haliburton./DARREN LUM Staff

Four pharmacies in Haliburton – DrugStore Pharmacy in Todd’s Independent, Haliburton Highland Pharmacy, Rexall and Shopper’s Drug Mart – are offering vaccinations, as does the Haliburton Highlands Family Health Team in Haliburton.

In Campbellford, the clinic has moved to the Campbellford and District Curling and Racquet Club on Front Street with the first clinic at the new location scheduled for May 13. Anyone who received their first dose at the Trent Hills Emergency Base will need to go to the new location for their second dose appointment.

On May 20, the HKPRD health unit said:

“Anyone who received a first COVID-19 vaccine dose at the mass immunization clinic at the AJ LaRue Community Centre will be able to get a second dose in Haliburton County. The second doses could be provided at the other mass immunization clinic site at the S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena in Minden, through primary care providers, or at local pharmacies. 

“People who have registered through Provincial Booking System will have a second dose appointment automatically generated. If they booked their doses at the Haliburton clinic site, the location will be changed and they will be notified by mail or email. Information will also be posted on the Health Unit website. Rest assured, anyone who needs a second dose will be able to get one.”

Local vaccine supply increasing  

After three weeks of mass vaccine clinics in the HKPRDHU region not operating at capacity due to low supply of vaccine, the health unit has been notified more vaccine will be available in the coming weeks.

“We have been hearing from the province for some time that we would be seeing a dramatic increase in the amount of vaccine being sent to us and it appears that time is approaching,” said Bocking in the press release. “We have asked people to be patient and wait their turn for their chance to get vaccinated. With the province expanding the groups of people eligible to book appointments and the increased deliveries of vaccine the time is now here for more residents to book their appointments to get vaccinated.”