Despite booking issues, clinic experience smooth for many
Mac ChristieFlamborough ReviewWednesday, April 7, 2021
As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues, several Flamborough residents have been able to get vaccinated — but the process has not always been smooth.
Kim Laking, whose mother was vaccinated March 18, said in an email she waited 12 days to get an appointment. Laking called the City of Hamilton’s COVID-19 hotline on March 2 and was told she should hear back in 24 hours to 10 days.
But she didn’t hear back — and said those 12 days were “so stressful.”
“I knew if I missed the call, I wouldn’t have an appointment for my mom,” she said. “I would wake up thinking if she gets the virus before I get an appointment and how I would cope with that?”
However, Laking was eventually able to book an appointment through the province’s online portal at the St. Joseph’s Hospital West 5th site. She said the clinic was friendly, organized and efficient.
“Would I have much preferred to pop my mom to (Harry Howell Arena), which is about seven minutes from where she resides? Yes, that would have been ideal,” she said, but added she was just thrilled to get an appointment.
Carlisle’s Ross and Helen Hooper managed to book appointments after the city opened vaccinations to those 70 and over March 29.
Helen, who is 69, has a lung condition called bronchiectasis, and uses a walker and full-time oxygen, while Ross, 72, is her primary caregiver. The condition, which requires chronic home care, places her in Phase 1 of the provincial vaccine rollout.
Ross said he called the city’s COVID-19 hotline March 20 and left their information, but did not hear back. So he called again and registered, but was told it could take two to three weeks to get an appointment, something he said was “totally absurd.”
Waterdown resident Margaret Robertson had a smooth experience. Robertson said her daughter booked her vaccine online at West 5th Clinic on the Mountain — and she was lucky her daughter was able to drive her to the appointment.
“I was in and out and back home almost within the hour,” she said.
Similar to the varied experiences, Amelia Steinbring, the executive director of Flamborough Connects, said the organization has heard a mixed bag when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Hamilton.
“Although some people have noted long wait times, others have had little difficulty getting through,” she said. “I’d say there are concerns, but they are not widespread.”
However, Steinbring said people are not sure about how and where to book appointments. As well, she said there has “definitely been some confusion” over whether the mobile clinic at Waterdown’s Harry Howell Arena is open.
The most recent clinic was held at the Clappison’s Corners site March 31 to April 4, but public health has not said when the clinic will return to Flamborough.
Ward 15 Coun. Judi Partridge said her office has been flooded with calls and emails from residents who are struggling to get the vaccine. She doesn’t feel public health is doing a good job communicating the location of pop-up clinics.
Partridge said during a previous Harry Howell mobile clinic from March 3 to 9, public health staff told they didn’t have “very many” people to be vaccinated at the Highway 5 site and wondered if there was a better location.
“I thought, ‘Well, jeeze — how was it communicated to people? Maybe you didn’t have a lot of people show up because they didn’t know how to.’”
“I still think Harry Howell is the best and most reasonable location,” she said. “You want something that’s going to be easy to get to for rural folks and easy to get to for people living in the urban area of Waterdown.”