It’s still a ways off, but public health officials are planning on holding mass immunization clinics to protect the general public against COVID-19.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Colby says it’s entirely dependent on supply.

“There’s been a provincial prioritization document with regard to how to decide when the supplies of the vaccine are lean, who gets it first in a fair and equitable manner,” Dr. Colby explains. “It’s a very long and complicated document, and we’re kind of slogging through that right now to finalize our local plan.”

Dr. Colby says the plan is that everyone in Chatham-Kent who wants to receive the vaccine will have had it by September.

“The limiting factor is not availability of clinics and personnel to vaccinate, the limiting factor will be the number of vaccines that we can get in Chatham-Kent. As soon as we get enough vaccines, we will be able to vaccinate the entire population of Chatham-Kent who’s willing and eligible within a very short period of time.”

The Public Health Unit is expecting more doses to arrive in the municipality over the next few weeks.

In the meantime, health officials are working at setting up a mass vaccination clinic at the John D. Bradley Convention Centre in Chatham. Dr. Colby recently toured the facility to check on their progress.

“I was very impressed with the entire setup and all the work that’s been done there. I really think they’re ready to go.”

Dr. Colby says the plan also includes the possibility of pop-up clinics as well, and using the WISH Centre in Chatham as a secondary mass vaccination site, if needed.