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Southwestern Public Health Administers First Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine in Elgin-St. Thomas & Oxford Regions

News Release
March 15, 2021

It was an emotional morning for the Southwestern Public Health region with first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered at the newly opened Mass Immunization Clinics in St. Thomas and Woodstock.
Rodney resident, Frank Gratton, and Innerkip resident, Marion Gillespie, were the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Elgin-St. Thomas and Oxford, respectively. Each expressed tremendous hope for a brighter future ahead.

“I am most looking forward to getting back to normal. I firmly believe vaccine will help us all get there sooner,” said Gratton, a member of the local Indigenous community in Elgin County. For Gillespie, her reason for being vaccinated was heartfelt: she just wanted to see her grand kids and great grand kids again.

“This is an historic moment for our health unit, and for the COVID-19 pandemic response,” says Jaime Fletcher, Program Manager leading the COVID-19 Immunization Task Force at the health unit. “There were certainly tears from our community members who came in to be vaccinated today, and also from our own team – the hope that comes along with these vaccinations is palpable. With every dose in arms, we are one step closer to ending this pandemic in our communities.”

More than 2,000 vaccinations will be given over the course of this week, with another 5,000 planned for the week of March 22. An additional batch of appointments will be released weekly on Mondays based on vaccine inventory that arrives to the two Southwestern Public Health vaccination clinics in St. Thomas and Woodstock. It is expected a new block of appointments will be released on Monday, March 22 at 8 a.m. for the following week.

Starting today, Ontario also launched a provincial appointment booking system in select regions; however, Southwestern Public Health will continue to use its existing booking system for the time being. Eligible individuals who do not directly receive booking information through an employer, a care provider’s home, or a care provider, are asked to book at www.covidvaccinelm.ca or by calling 226-289-3560. Please do not call public health, primary care providers, or arrive at the vaccination clinics to book appointments.

Natalie Rowe
Communications | Southwestern Public Health

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