Brampton vax clinic open to Black residents

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Published May 20, 2021 at 11:27 am

The need to overcome mistrust and vaccine misconceptions was the driving force behind a COVID-19 clinic for Black residents of Brampton and Malton.

The clinic opened May 15 at Bramalea Civic Centre and is aimed at residents who identify as Black (e.g. Black-Canadian, African, Caribbean, Afro-Latin, Afro-Indigenous, etc.) and live in following postal codes – L4T, L6P, L6R, L6S, L6T, L6V, L6W, L6X, L6Y, L6Z, L7A. It is hoped about 14,000 first-doses will be administered at the clinic before it closes on June 11.

“There is a lot of fundamental mistrust in the Black community around health care,” said Marsha Brown, manager of Community Programs and Services for WellFort Community Health Services, one of the organizers of the event. “So we want them to feel comfortable and familiar when they come for their vaccination. We have black volunteers, black doctors and black nurses.”

Education and outreach have been the focus of the event’s organizer.

“We’re trying to target the myths around the vaccine,” said Brown. “People in this community have a lot of questions about how the vaccine will affect their health. We’re here to provide support and information.”

Several hundred people received doses during the opening weekend, but Brown said they still needed to make changes to the way they were doing things.

“We knew we’d have to make adjustments once the clinic opened, and that’s what we did. We found that a lot of people preferred walking in, rather than making appointments, so now the clinic is available for walk-ins from Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.”

Brown is pleased that efforts are being made to reach the essential, front-line workers who may not be available to get vaccines during traditional office hours. She mentioned the marathon Doses After Dark and workplace and popup clinics as ways to get everyone vaccinated.

“No matter how we do it, the more people who are vaccinated, the better it is for everyone and the sooner we can get back to the way things used to be.”

The clinic is a collaboration among Roots Community Services, Wellfort Community Health Services, Black Health Task Force of Peel, Black Health Alliance, Black Physicians Association of Ontario, Region of Peel Public Health and the Ontario Ministry of Health.

People who meet the eligibility criteria above can book a vaccination appointment by going to: rootscs.org/covid-19. As noted, walk-ins are also available.

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