Grey Bruce Public Health is announcing that another noteworthy juncture has been reached as the area continues to emerge and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
As recommended by Grey-Bruce Medical Officer of Health Dr. Ian Arra, Public Health has decided to fully sunset the Grey-Bruce COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force and formally thank each of the community-minded members and their teams who contributed to this important initiative.
The decision is based on favourable local epidemiology related to COVID-19 and comes after a Nov. 30, 2022, memorandum in which Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health says the Pandemic Response and Recovery structure within the Ministry of Health will wind down and its functions transition to existing divisions within the ministry.
“I am delighted to share that we have now reached a point in Grey-Bruce where we can officially conclude the Grey-Bruce COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force,” Dr. Arra said. “Nearly two years ago, as Grey Bruce Public Health prepared to launch the largest mass vaccination rollout in the area’s history, we were fortunate to have representatives from a wide range of sectors and organizations step up to serve on a task force to provide their support, expertise, and feedback for this unprecedented vaccination plan. The vaccination rollout was a success – something that would not have been possible without the support of Grey-Bruce residents, who attended Hockey Hubs and other vaccine clinics, the work and dedication of the task force members and our community partners, and the many volunteers who assisted with the mass vaccination clinics.”
Formed in early 2021 under the direction of Grey Bruce Public Health, the Grey Bruce COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force’s role was to provide feedback and direct and indirect support for Public Health’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program Plan in Grey-Bruce.
The task force included representatives from the local business community, including Bruce Power and Chapman’s Ice Cream, as well as Grey and Bruce counties and the agricultural, hospital, congregate care, school, pharmacy, and social services sectors. It also included first responders and representatives from First Nations/Indigenous communities, and faith-based organizations.
“I would like to thank every one of the individuals and organizations for the unwavering support and assistance they provided as members of the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force,” Dr. Arra said. “I also extend my heartfelt appreciation to the many people who volunteered their time to support the vaccination rollout in Grey-Bruce, including those who volunteered at vaccination clinics in the area. Without you, our mass vaccination clinics would not have been possible.”
The task force met regularly throughout 2021 to support Public Health’s efforts to provide first, second, and booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to Grey-Bruce residents. Based on a recommendation from Dr. Arra, the task force decided at its Feb. 16, 2022, meeting to sunset itself on the condition that all partners would remain on standby in case an anticipated surge in COVID-19 transmission in the fall and winter required it to regroup and re-establish mass vaccination clinics.
Staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccines continues to be one of the best ways to protect yourself from severe outcomes from the virus. COVID-19 vaccines, including bivalent boosters, are available at participating pharmacies and via primary care providers in Grey-Bruce as well as at Grey Bruce Public Health and GO-VAXX vaccine clinics. Vaccine and clinic information is available at publichealthgreybruce.on.ca.