Only vaccine clinic in Parc-Extension reopens amid fear of third-wave
The only mass-vaccination clinic located in Parc-Extension reopened to the public on Tuesday, after the health authority attracted condemnation over its decision to move it to another location.
All residents over the age of 60 can now book an appointment to get their vaccine at the Parc-Extension CLSC at 7085 Hutchison Street.
Residents will also be able to make appointments at the former location at the Université de Montréal site close to de l’Acadie Metro, located at 1375 Therese-Lavoie-Roux Ave.
This is in addition to several participating pharmacies in the neighbourhood where residents can get vaccinated.
“In order to ensure local residents have ready access to COVID-19 vaccinations, CIUSSS West-Central Montreal is reopening the COVID-19 vaccination site at the CLSC de Parc-Extension,” stated the health authority in a press release.
The reopened location is in a central area of Parc-Extension, close to public transit and within a reasonable walking distance for many residents.
“Our strategy is to offer residents within our territory a variety of vaccination site options,” stated Francine Dupuis, Associate CEO of CIUSSS West-Central Montreal.
By providing an additional vaccination site in the heart of Parc-Extension, we hope this will make vaccination as easy and accessible as possible for the residents of the neighbourhood,” added Dupuis.
On Mar. 19, the CIUSSS West-Central Montreal announced it would be moving the mass-vaccination clinic to a new location at the Université de Montréal MIL campus.
This came after a stall in negotiations over a lease agreement for a site across from the CLSC on Parc. This resulted in the health authority moving the location to one located across the train tracks in Outremont.
Although the new clinic is only about a 20-minute walk, it would have been in a new and unfamiliar neighbourhood for many.
This attracted the criticism of many residents, local organizations and politicians in the community. Many were upset that the CIUSSS West-Central Montreal would make it more difficult for vulnerable residents to get vaccinated.
Vanessa Viel, Client Support Lead at the Sarker Hope Foundation, said last week that it would make it more difficult for low-income and low-mobility residents to get to the site.
“A lot of seniors do not have means of transportation,” said Viel, adding that many were too frail to take public transit or to walk.
Parc-Extension has remained one of the areas of Montreal with the highest number of new COVID-19 cases throughout the city.
City counsellor for Parc-Extension Mary Deros also felt this way about the decision and raised the subject with the provincial government.
“We collectively went to the government, to the health board, and said this is totally unacceptable, it’s not acceptable,” said Deros.
“We need to have something in Park Ex and the CLSC is the best place for them right now,” she stated.
Deros was happy that the clinic had been reopened, but also stated she was disappointed that it would have to close again if vaccine doses were not used.
“Unfortunately if people don’t go and use the services they’re going to close it again,” stated Deros, adding that it was now the citizen’s responsibility to book appointments and get vaccinated.
The announcement to reopen the vaccination clinic comes as case numbers have begun to steadily rise again, with some experts saying this indicates the start of a third-wave.
Nonetheless, the provincial government says that the situation in Montreal remains stable. “We can see that there hasn’t been an increase in cases,” said Premier François Legault in an address on COVID-19 on Tuesday.
Premier Legault said the increase was coming mainly from orange zones in the province, namely the Outaouais and Capitale-Nationale regions in addition to five others.
“According to our projections, we would be able to see an increase in cases and hospitalizations,” he added.
No new measures
The government still feels that the increase in cases is still within the capacity of local hospitals and stressed that if health measures were properly respected, numbers should not rise further.
“The problem is not what is permitted, it is what is not respected,” said Legault.
Nonetheless, the government is still worried about respect for health mandates by people over Easter weekend. They also hope that young adults will abide by the rules, 50% of which have been recently been found by the INSPQ to not respect guidelines.
Legault made clear that although they were not planning on tightening restrictions once again, he said that they would not discard the option if conditions changed.