Two London-area mass vaccination clinics to close in September

The Middlesex-London Health Unit's mass vaccination clinic at Earl Nichols Arena. (Photo by Craig Needles, Blackburn News)

The Middlesex London Health Unit will close two of its four mass COVID-19 vaccination clinics in September in order to free up resources for more mobile and walk-in pop-up clinics.

Operations at the Earl Nichols arena clinic at 799 Homeview Rd. will come to an end on September 3. The following day, the clinic at the North London Optimist community centre at 1345 Cheapside St. will shut down.  If necessary, the Earl Nichols site could reopen in October, the health unit noted.

Ahead of the planned closures, clinic hours will be cut next month.

Earl Nichols and the North London Optimist Community Centre, which currently are open seven days a week, will close for the Civic holiday weekend July 31 to August 2. When they reopen on August 3, the new hours of operation will be Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the Nichols site and Tuesday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for North London Optimist.

The Caradoc Community Centre vaccination clinic in Mt. Brydges goes from seven days a week to Tuesday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. operation as of August 17. It will be closed August 15 and 16.

The Western Fair District Agriplex vaccination site, which was the region’s first mass clinic to open, will continue to run seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The closures and reduced hours comes as demand for the vaccine slows down in London and Middlesex County. Over the last several weeks the vaccination program was accelerated across Ontario allowing people to push up their originally scheduled second dose appointments for August, September, and October. The move to allow walk-ins for both first and second doses at all of the region’s mass vaccination sites was made on Tuesday as another way of making the shot more convenient and accessible for everyone.

As of last Saturday, there have been 610,784 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered in the region. More than 79 per cent of area residents aged 12 and older had received at least one dose of the vaccine and 56.5 per cent have had two doses to be considered fully inoculated.

For public health officials, the focus now shifts to getting the shot into the arms of the remaining unvaccinated local population.

“As the health unit turns its focus to individuals in the community, the vaccination effort will rely on mobile and walk-in pop- up clinics, as well as providing opportunities to be vaccinated at community events,” the health unit said in a statement.